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Sears to Offer Bonus for Stimulus Checks

Sears Holdings Corp. said Tuesday it plans on offering a 10 percent bonus to anyone who converts their fiscal-stimulus checks into a Sears or Kmart gift card.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Sears Holdings Corp. said Tuesday it plans on offering a 10 percent bonus to anyone who converts their fiscal-stimulus checks into a Sears or Kmart gift card.

The announcement came as many scrambled to turn in their taxes, which are due at midnight. The Internal Revenue Service will begin sending the checks in early May.

Customers can present their checks at a cash register at Sears and Kmart to convert it into a gift card at the full value of the check, and to receive a bonus gift card worth 10 percent of the check.

The cards can be redeemed at any Sears, Kmart or Lands' End retail stores, as well as sears.com and landsend.com, Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears said.

The promotion is scheduled to last between May 14 and July 19. The gift cards have no expiration and no fees.

Sears representative Kirsten Whipple said details for shoppers who elect to receive the fiscal-stimulus check by direct deposit are still being worked out, but they will likely be able to register online to receive a coupon to bring to stores.

Morningstar analyst Kim Picciola said the move might succeed in generating store traffic.

Sears, run by hedge fund investor Chairman Eddie Lampert, has faced eroding profit and sales. In February, the company reported fiscal year profit dropped 44 percent while sales fell 4 percent to $50.7 billion.

"One of (Sears') biggest challenges is they have lost touch with consumers, this is a way for them to get consumers back into stores," she said.

Picciola said other retailers might follow suit.

"It's a really interesting strategy, we might see other retailers try to do something similar," she said.

Shares fell 787 cents to $100.65 during midday trading.