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Sears rolls out the towels & rips up the beds

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — With reaction to its recently expanded towel assortment running strong, Sears plans to roll up its sleeves and overhaul top-of-bed presentations over the next two quarters.

Roughly 70 percent of the company's current top-of-bed assortment will get the boot in the process, chairman and CEO Alan Lacy said during the company's first quarter conference call earlier today. Lacy provided no details, other than to say the assortment was being upgraded and that Sears will continue to supplement its proprietary offerings with the rollout of WestPoint Stevens' Martex and Utica labels in home.

The recently completed reset of the towel department has driven a significant increase in that category's comparable sales, Lacy added.

Lacy also acknowledged the company is considering the prospect of freestanding Lands' End specialty stores, but insisted such a project would amount to "a relatively small thing in the scheme of things."

The stores would probably situate in upscale malls and freestanding locations in major urban shopping venues "where we would be very unlikely to ever put a Sears full-line store." Lands' End currently operates outlet stores as well as an airport store in Minneapolis.

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