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Sears Offering Free Wi-Fi In Stores

10/13/2011 04:29:42 PM Eastern

Hoffman Estates,
Ill. - Sears will begin providing free Wi-Fi access in its stores and will
equip sales associates with iPads and iPod Touches to improve the in-store
shopping experience.

 Wi-Fi, along with enhanced wireless coverage,
will allow customers to use their smartphones or web-enabled devices to surf
the web or compare prices before they purchase, the company said.

Sears believes the
Apple products will allow associates to improve customer service and create "a
more personalized shopping experience" by checking available inventory,
accessing product information and videos, utilizing enhanced purchasing tools,
and helping customers order products online.

Sears chief
information officer Keith Sherwell said the company is upgrading its entire
network and technology infrastructure to provide free Wi-Fi and greater
wireless access in stores, which will help create "a uniquely rich, integrated
retail experience."

The initiative
appears to embrace, rather than discourage, shoppers' growing use of smartphone
apps that can identify products on store shelves and provide price comparisons across
multiple channels.

Sears said the
iPads and iPod Touches will be rolled out to associates in stages, beginning
with about 450 stores nationwide.

"This isn't only
about cool new devices," noted retail services president Deidra Merriwether. "This
is about a better overall in-store shopping experience for our customers as we
strive to put them first in everything we do."

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