Sears Reformats Off-mall Stores

    February 8, 2005

Sears, Roebuck and Co. announced the launch of the company’s newest off-mall format – Sears Essentials.

This new mid-sized store format, which will leverage the best of Sears along with convenience-inspired items, is a result of the acquisition of 50 Kmart and six Wal-Mart stores finalized in the third quarter of 2004. The first 25 Sears Essentials stores are scheduled to open this spring.

“Sears Essentials will lead the way as we embark on the most aggressive growth initiative in company history,” said Sears Chairman and CEO, Alan Lacy. “This new store format enables Sears to grow its brand off-mall and better meet the everyday needs of our customers.”

Based on customer response to the merchandise assortments at Sears Grand, Sears Essentials will offer Sears’ product categories that are integral to home and family life, such as appliances, lawn and garden, tools, electronics, apparel, and home fashions along with routinely purchased convenience items, such as health and beauty, pantry, household and paper products, pet supplies, and toys. The name Sears Essentials, which resonated with customers in research conducted during the name selection process, conveys the important role that Sears plays in homes and families across the country, as well as the everyday solutions the store will provide.

Following the proposed business combination with Kmart, Sears expects that the new off-mall stores will leverage Kmart’s strengths including the retailer’s experience, knowledge, infrastructure and scale, particularly in such categories as pantry, health and beauty, household goods, and pharmacy. Sears Essentials will also leverage Sears’ strengths including expertise in appliances, lawn and garden, tools and apparel and strong brands like Kenmore, Craftsman and Apostrophe.

Retaining several off-mall attributes, the stores will feature a one-level racetrack design, exit cashiering and a centralized customer service center. The stores are primarily located in large, densely populated markets with home, family and income demographics that are attractive to Sears.

The stores expected to undergo the transition over the coming weeks and months, will remain open during the process to best serve customers and will convert to the Sears Essentials nameplate this spring.

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