Sears wants to be your... travel agent?

When you think of Sears, most of us think of the store where your mom and dad bought all their Kenmore appliances back in the day, from washers and dryers to vacuum cleaners.

Or perhaps you remember wearing their "Toughskin" jeans in the 1970s and 1980s that would never fade, no matter how much you tried to fade them.

Now, however, Sears wants to be your travel agent. Yes, your travel agent. Really.

Vacations on Layaway

Attempting to re-invent itself after years of declining store sales, Sears has just launched Sears Vacations, through the website SearsVacations.com.

It is based on the premise that many of its middle income shoppers love layaway, because you pay for an item gradually, and don't have to worry about high credit card interest rates, or a big debit card purchase that can bounce your checking account.

So Sears will let you book that dream cruise or trip to Cancun, then pay for a bit of it every few weeks, with no interest charges.

But Can Sears Compete?

But the Chicago Tribune questions the plan , saying Sears is "going up against such names as Expedia, Orbitz, and AAA that focus solely on travel." It says these companies have spent decades becoming experts at finding the best travel deals in this digital age.

But Sears believes its core customers, who still love their Kenmore appliances, will welcome the chance to buy a travel package from a name that has been around for a century. In addition, the travel site will be run by an established Arizona travel company with years of experience.

To entice customers, Sears Vacations will offer last minute cruise deals, plus a number of $399 introductory packages through July.

Whatever travel agency you decide to use, don't waste your money.

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