Sears, Roebuck an Company, commonly known as Sears, is an American mid-range chain of international department stores, founded by Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck in the late 19th century. It operates in Canada under Sears Canada, Mexico under Sears Mexico and Guatemala under Homemart, S.A. From its mail order beginnings, the company grew to become the largest retailer in the United States by the mid-20th century, and its catalogs became famous. Competition and changes in the demographics of its customer base challenged the company after World War II as its rural and inner city strongholds shrank and the suburban markets grew. Eventually its catalog program was largely discontinued. Sears, a former component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average., merged with Kmart in early 2005, creating the Sears Holdings Corporation.