The Sears shopping catalog ceased publication on Jan. 25, 2003. The Sears "Big Book" shopping catalog, which was in publication for more than 100 years, allowed Americans to purchase a variety of products from the comfort of their homes.
R.W. Sears, a railroad worker, started a business selling watches before the turn of the century. In 1893, Alvah Roebuck joined Sears to form Sears, Roebuck and Co. Sears and Roebuck targeted rural customers for its mail order business. This mail order business began before an actual brick-and-mortar location was established more than 30 years later. The business expanded from its initial mail order structure, which continued for more than a century.