The seven Sears stores pictured above were all opened in a seven-month period – from March through October, 1963. These stores – all type A “Complete Department Stores” help to illustrate the impressive breadth of architectural styles Sears employed during the period. It’s interesting to note, also, that Sears used multiple logo styles on their stores – the “script” type, which had been in use in various forms since the early 1950’s and the “serif” type, which began to appear on store facades and in catalogs and print advertising around 1960. The company used them interchangeably (which is amazing, when one considers the intense emphasis placed on having a “uniform corporate identity” today). In more than a few cases, they even used both styles on the same store!
As a company, Sears went from strength to strength during this period, enjoying record yearly sales and profit increases, with total sales of over $5 billion in 1963. The following year, Sears would overtake The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company as the world’s largest selling retailer, a position they would hold for nearly three decades afterward. Also, Sears’ shopping center development division, founded in 1960 and named Homart Development Corporation (after the company’s home office location at the corner of Homan Avenue and Arthington Street ) began to gain steam. Homart had opened its first shopping center, Seminary South in Ft. Worth, Texas (now called Fort Worth Town Center) the previous year. The company would open its second shopping center, the Hancock Center Mall in Austin, Texas in 1963. The Austin Sears store is pictured in the second photo above.
The photos, top to bottom, are of the following stores – (1) Downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, near the Minnesota State Capitol and still open, (2) Austin, Texas, at the Hancock Center mall, also still open, (3) Park Forest, Illinois, in the famous early “planned community” which was originally founded in 1948. Through the 1950’s an impressive array of stores opened up in Park Forest’s shopping plaza, including such Chicago standbys as Marshall Field & Company, Goldblatts and Jewel Food Stores, among many others. Sears finally joined the group in ’63. None of those stores exist today, though several of the buildings still stand in one form or another. (4) Montgomery, Alabama, with very cool smaller logos above each entrance, (5) Orlando, Florida, with a two-toned Sears service truck heading out, (6) Denver, Colorado, and (7) Wilmington, Delaware at Prices Corner Shopping Center. This store still exists and has been greatly expanded over the years.