–Susan Perera, Attorney

Which brands come to mind when you think of Sears? Craftsman, Kenmore, Lands End? …what about Structure?

During a recent trip to Sears I found myself walking past this Sears sign for its clothing brand, Structure.   I was struck by a memory of the Structure men’s clothing store of the late ‘90s which vanished to be replaced by Express Men.

A bit of research reveals, Limited Brands (which has cultivated multiple store brands including: Express, The Limited, Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Lane Bryant, Lerner New York, and Galyan’s) sold the Structure brand to Sears in 2003 after it re-branded its clothing stores under the Express Men mark.

Oddly, I have been completely unaware of Sears’ ownership of the Structure brand during the past 7 years.   A search of the USPTO, shows two Structure trademarks owned by Sears. One word mark registered in 1989 for men’s and women’s clothing which was assigned to Sears, and a 2006 mark which was registered by Sears for men’s footwear.

Also interesting, for those of us keeping track of the trademarks, is that at least 5 Structure design marks were also assigned to Sears, all of which have been canceled (for failure to file a section 8 declaration).

Structure Sport & Design

Structure Sport & Design

Structure Jeanswear & Design

Structure Authentic Jeanswear & Design

Structure V X XX XXX XL & Design

Another 6 Structure & Design marks were never assigned to Sears and have also gone abandoned or have been canceled.

This makes me wonder, what was the advertising and marketing strategy behind this brand acquisition?   I find it interesting that a company would buy a brand (which from my own completely unscientific, unofficial survey, had quite strong customer good-will) only to let all of the design marks associated with the brand be canceled.

So what do you think of this strategy? And, were you aware of Sears’ ownership of Structure?

  • Andy

    I think the Structure brand gave Sears a great brand for young men’s apparel. The brand is still relevant with many of the same fashions going for much more in the retail mall stores.

  • AJ

    i was shocked to see a small sign with STRUCTURE on it as I was walking through SEARS on the way to the rest of the Mall.
    I must admit, about half my wardrobe from 1993-1999 was from STRUCTURE. They made some good clothes, then they were purchased by Express and overnight they went from nice clothes (similar to what Old Navy is today) to Metro-sexual tight fitting clothes that no normal male could ever where, unless he was fasting for about a year.
    I’m happy to see that Sears purchased them and brought the STRUCTURE name back with them. The clothes look nice & affordable. I’ll most likely give them another chance this Fall.

  • C. Reynolds

    @AJ
    Structure and Express had always been owned by The Limited brand. Express began in the 1980 and then decided to branch out to men’s clothing in 1989 under the Structure name. Initially, Express was selling men’s sweaters in the late 80’s and their success led to the idea of an all men’s clothing store. I helped open one of the very first Structure stores in Houston in ’91. We had amazing business the first few years but by the late 90’s the Abercrombie look took over and Structure lost much of its market share. They then canceled Structure and changed the name to Men’s Express (still under the auspices of The Limited Inc.) Eventually The Limited sold majority interest of Express to a company called Golden Gate I believe. I am not sure who owns it now.
    crr……

    • disqus_xAOy1j1wrZ

      Sad structure was the shit in the 90s even when Abercrombie took off I still had rather have structure sad deal we love the clothing line it was all we wore

  • Millicent

    I was aware that Sears took the structure brand. I was not HAPPY about it!!! I used to shop for my husband when structure was apart of the EXPRESS STORE. I bought him a leather belt from there that was the year 97 or 98 and it just broke 2012 and I haven’t been able to find another leather belt like that. So it’s very disappointing. The quality of the clothing was very very good.

    • Lisa

      I have two flannel shirts from the late 90s that are STILL in great condition!

  • Donna Brown

    I bought my son a pair of Structure boots about 8 or 9 years ago from Sears and he has worn the devil out of them. He has asked for a new pair for Christmas but, you guessed it, I can’t seem to find them. He says they were comfortable and obviously well made because he still wears them. Does anybody carry the Structure brand?

    • Sears still sells Structure brand clothing so try there! I bought a Structure Men’s Synthetic Leather Jacket there today which looks great!

  • CeeStyle

    Commenting on a very old article but slightly related, does anyone know what happened to Anchor Blue? I really liked them. By the way, I still buy Structure clothing from men to this day and it still has good quality and style.