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Retail Briefs

Home Depot focused on services, store modernization

The Home Depot will expand its services business to meet the demands of a growing baby-boomer demographic that has little interest in taking on labor-intensive projects, said Carol Tome, the company's executive vice president and chief financial officer, at the William Blair & Company's Growth Stock Conference last week.

Noting that between now and 2010, the fastest growing segment of the population will be between the ages of 55 and 64, she said, "Fifty percent of those say, 'I don't want to do it, I want you to do it for me.' This plays very well into our services strategy."

Dollar General looks west

Dollar General is eager to follow the sunset with plans to open stores in Arizona and "a firm plan to extend west," said chairman and CEO David Perdue last week during the William Blair & Company Growth Stock Conference.

The company currently maintains just under 7,000 stores in "only 29 states," he said. Dollar General's expansion plans, said Perdue, entail "still basically following a rural and small town development approach focused on low- and middle-income customers."

Gottschalks to open new prototype store

Regional department store chain Gottschalks Inc. recently announced that it will open a new flagship store next spring in the River Park lifestyle center located in Fresno, Calif., which will represent for the retailer a new concept — a two-level, 100,000-square-foot unit.

Kmart appoints three execs

Kmart Holding Corporation has appointed Robert Norton as senior vice president, stores; Dene Rogers as senior vice president, store operations; and David Whipple as senior vice president, associate resources.

Norton will have overall responsibility for Kmart's stores, including the field and headquarters' store-support organization. Prior to joining Kmart, he served as the chairman and CEO of FTD Inc.

Rogers will have responsibility for the store-support organization at headquarters and will drive multi-functional operational improvement initiatives across the store base.

Whipple is now the senior human resource executive at the company, whose immediate focus is developing Kmart's store-associate population.

Sears Canada launching new store formats

Sears Canada Inc. is launching two new off-mall specialty store formats — Appliances & Mattresses and Coverings.

Sears Appliances & Mattresses stores will offer all of the top brands in major appliances, including Sears Kenmore, and mattresses featuring the Sears-O-Pedic brand. The Sears Coverings stores will offer a differentiated décor experience for the "Do It For Me" customer, stated the company. It will offer a wide selection of home décor solutions including custom and ready-made window coverings, flooring, custom wall-to-wall carpet, area rugs and paint and wallpaper.

Sears plans to open 30 new format stores, including Sears Wellness stores, by the end of 2005. The first six locations are all in Ontario. The Sears Appliances & Mattresses stores and Sears Coverings stores will include a catalogue merchandise pick-up location.

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