Sears Opts for Experian's Strategy Management

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Retail giant Sears, Roebuck & Co. has implemented a new credit-decision-support software system in its more than 3,000 retail outlets nationwide.

The need for a new credit-card strategy became apparent after Sears experienced a problem with delinquencies and bankruptcies. The company selected Strategy Management from Experian, Atlanta.

"Previously, when we wanted to install a new score card or a new strategy for approving or declining applications, we would have to have it hard-coded into the system by our IS group," said Ron Lischwe, director of in-store account acquisition at Sears, Hoffman Estates, IL. "With Strategy Management, we can go into a Windows environment and create strategies and test strategies. When we are satisfied with the results we can upload that into the mainframe environment. So the process of implementing a strategy is greatly streamlined."

Sears approved about 13 million credit card applications from 1995 through 1996 but plans to approve 8 million from 1997 through 1998 in an effort to get higher quality accounts.

"With this system in place, we maintain a high volume of accounts approved, but we also should approve more of the right accounts," said Kevin Keleghan, vice president of credit risk management at Sears. "Experian's Strategy Management software enables us to reduce delinquencies, bankruptcies and the overall risk of our portfolios."

Sears has 60 million card holders, about 32 million of which are active members. The Sears project represents one of the largest installations in the world for Experian, an information services and decision-support solutions company.

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