Free-standing, full-line store next for Sears

Heath E. Combs, Carole Sloan, October 28, 2002

Sears will open its first off-the-mall full line store in West Jordan, UT, a suburb of Salt Lake City.

Alan Lacy, Sears chairman and ceo, disclosed plans for the store at the annual analysts meeting here earlier this month but did not identify the location until after the meeting.

The pilot store, with size yet to be determined, will open in the fall of 2003. "We are now in a position of growing our store base," Lacy told the analysts. By going off-the-mall, a scenario long under consideration, "We will be more convenient to customers. We also will rethink the format."

Lacy also said that expansion for The Great Indoors would be held to two new stores for '03. "It's a big win with customers; it's very differentiated. But the investment level is too high."

The Great Indoors will have 20 stores by yearend, including seven that opened this year. "We made good progress" in the financials and "see even more progress for '03. But the economics must improve and we must attract a broader customer base." The performance improvement will determine the next course of action, he added.

Discussing the company's catalog business, Lacy noted, "We have reduced the licensees to two: Direct Marketing Services Inc. for home and Brylane for apparel. We are very pleased with them, with the quality of the partnership, and we're comfortable with them." The catalogs, and Sears.com, now come under the direction of Dave Dyer, who heads Lands' End as executive vp and general manager, customer direct.

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