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Sears To Launch New Store Format

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears will roll out a new midsize store format this spring that will accommodate its 56 recently acquired Kmart and Wal-Mart locations and prepare the way for its coming consolidation with Kmart.

The new concept, dubbed Sears Essentials, will mirror the assortment of Sears Grand, the company’s other — and larger — full-line, off-mall format, by stocking an edited selection of CE; majaps; tools; soft lines; and fast-turn convenience items like health and beauty, food, pet supplies, household products and toys. Following the integration of Sears and Kmart, the Sears Essential stores are also expected to add pharmacy, considered to be one of Kmart’s category strengths.

Sears envisions Essentials as a “one-stop shopping destination for home and family needs” that offers “the best of both” Sears — with its big-ticket destination shopping categories — and Kmart, whose merchandising expertise is in smaller, convenience-type goods.

The stores themselves will feature a one-level racetrack design, exit-area checkout and a centralized customer service center. The first 25 units will be converted this spring in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.

Sears purchased the 50 Kmart units and six Wal-Mart locations last year.

“This new store format enables Sears to grow its brand off-mall and better meet the everyday needs of our customers,” said Sears’ chairman/CEO Alan Lacy, who described the conversions as part of “the most aggressive growth initiative” in the company’s history.