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Sears already mulling Grand growth

New York — Although the new Sears Grand format will remain in "pilot mode" for two years following its debut next month in Salt Lake City, the off-the-mall prototype could eventually replace up to 300 undersized mall stores in the retailer's portfolio, chairman and ceo Alan Lacy said today.

Lacy, who addressed the Goldman Sachs Retailing Conference here, added: "It's too soon to know how many we could open."

The 150,000-square-foot format, which will include non-perishable foods, CDs, DVDs and toys, could eventually be used to "upsize" or relocate smaller stores that can't comfortably carry a full-line mall store's assortment. Lacy estimated there are 300 such units in the chain, about 38 percent of the full-line store base.

Lacy also said that after two years spent fixing the fundamentals at Sears' full-line operation, the chain this summer has begun to relaunch itself. The key components of the relaunch include an integrated marketing strategy, a sharper focus on the appliance business to regain lost share, growth in apparel and increased store-level accountability for sales performance.

"Sales is absolutely our top priority," he added. "Every job in the store has a sales-driven component, and they make that their No. 1 priority."

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