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Sears To Forgive Majap Payments For Unemployed

6/30/2009 01:16:19 PM Eastern

Hoffman Estates,
Ill.  - For a limited time, Sears will allow customers who lost their jobs after
purchasing a major appliance with a Sears credit card to suspend payments and,
in some cases, keep their purchases.

The offer will be available to
consumers who buy appliances and related delivery, installation and repair
services totaling more than $399 between July 6 and Aug. 1, and lose their jobs
within two months to one year of the purchase.

One-twelfth of the purchase price
will be credited their Sears credit card accounts for every month they are out
of work, and the full debt will be forgiven for those unemployed over a year,
Sears said.

 Sears Flexes Its Majap Muscles At K/BIS

The trial program, which follows similar debt-forgiveness offers
by auto makers, will be coupled with Sears' ongoing 15 percent-off sales
promotions on appliances.

 "Our customers have told
us that ... they have been deferring much-needed appliance purchases, said Sears'
chief marketing officer Kevin Brown. "With Sears' buyer protection program,
customers can move forward with confidence."

The majap industry downturn, which remains in lockstep with the ravaged
housing market, is now entering its third year. According to the Association of
Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), factory unit shipments of white goods fell
17.4 percent in May after nearly 24 months of successive monthly declines,
while Best Buy reported a 20 percent drop in comparable appliance sales during
its first quarter, ended May 30.

The debt-forgiveness program will be managed by Citigroup, which
issues Sears' private-label credit card. Customers will be able to file their
claims at www.searsbuyerprotection.com.