New Convenience-driven Sears Format Includes Pantry Items and Pharmacy

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Sears, Roebuck, and Co. here yesterday announced the launch of its newest off-mall format, Sears Essentials, which will leverage the best of Sears along with convenience-inspired goods such as pantry items, health and beauty supplies, pet food, and toys, plus pharmacy and other services.

Sears said the new midsized store format was designed to fit its acquisition of 50 Kmart and six Wal-Mart stores, finalized in the third quarter of 2004. The first 25 Sears Essentials stores are scheduled to open this spring.

"Sears Essentials will lead the way as we embark on the most aggressive growth initiative in company history," said Sears chairman and c.e.o. Alan Lacy in a statement. "This new store format enables Sears to grow its brand off-mall and better meet the everyday needs of our customers."

Sears said the stores' merchandising assortments would be based on Sears Grand -- the company's larger format that includes grocery items in addition to Sears traditional lines. Sears Essentials will offer Sears' product categories such as appliances, lawn and garden, tools, electronics, apparel, and home fashions, along with routinely purchased convenience items such as health and beauty, pantry, household and paper products, pet supplies, and toys.

The name Sears Essentials, according to the company, is meant to convey "the important role that Sears plays in homes and families across the country, as well as the everyday solutions the store will provide."

Following its proposed business combination with Kmart, Sears said it expects that the new off-mall stores will leverage Kmart's strengths, particularly in such categories as pantry, health and beauty, household goods, and pharmacy.

Retaining several off-mall attributes, the stores will feature a one-level racetrack design, exit cashiering, and a centralized customer service center. Sears said the stores are primarily located in large, densely populated markets with home, family, and income demographics that are attractive to the company.

Stores will remain open during the remodeling process to best serve customers and will convert to the Sears Essentials nameplate this spring, according to the company.
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