Sara Nathan
USA Today
Page 01B
(Copyright 1999)

Spurred by soft sales, Sears will announce today that it is dropping its 6-year-old "softer side of Sears" ad campaign and replacing it with ads that represent the retailer's full range of products. "The old campaign didn't talk about all that Sears does," says Lee Antonio, a Sears spokeswoman. The retailer's apparel sales, which had grown for five consecutive years, began to decline last year. The new ad campaign is expected to begin airing early next month in time for its back-to-school campaign. Analysts regard "the softer side of Sears" ad campaign as one of the most effective of the decade.

DOT COM EFFECT: A Purdue University study showed that the stock price of companies that changed their names to show their links to the Internet rose 125% from five days before the switch was announced to five days after. Over a longer period, the average price per share of the companies surveyed rose from $2.15 15 days before the announcement to $5.86 15 days after the change was publicized. The average volume traded for the period rocketed from 14,124 shares to 66,500. The most striking effect was for non-Internet companies that said they would shift their focus to the World Wide Web. Their prices rose 189% in the 30 days surrounding the name change.