Sears Announces New Strategy for ‘Great Indoors’

by WOHe

Sears Announces New Strategy for ‘Great

Hoffman Estates, IL Sears, Roebuck and Co., the
parent company of “The Great Indoors,” has announced a “strategic
refinement” of its business strategy aimed at boosting profits and
productivity at the chain of home remodeling and decorating
centers, which, Sears said, retain “exceptional customer

Included in the plans, announced in late-August,
are the closure of three under-performing Great Indoors stores, the
conversion of a fourth store to an outlet format, and a series of
operational enchancements in the remaining Great Indoors stores,
according to Sears’ officials.

The stores to be closed by years-end are located in
Cincinnati and Arlington and Willowbrook, TX, said Sears, which is
headquartered here. The store to be converted to an outlet format
is located in Shelby, MI.

Following the closings, The Great Indoors will
operate 18 stores in 11 markets nationwide, according to Sears.
Those stores, the retail giant said, will be subject to a series of
operational enhancements that include upgrades in inventory
management, refined merchandising techniques and improved product
sourcing and vendor strategies, according to Sears.

Each Great Indoors store showcases more than 80,000
products, and offers a selection of more than 700,000 special-order
items, including many for the kitchen and bath.

When the first of the chain’s stores opened in
Denver several years ago, the effort was viewed by many as part of
a larger direct
competitive threat mounted by major upscale home center chains to
local independent kitchen and bath dealers. That threat has since
been proven not to be a major factor, however, for most

Sears senior v.p. and Great Indoors general manager
Jeff Jones said the company still has “high expectations for the
future growth” of the chain, which he said averages annual sales of
more than $30 million per store.

“We have identified the major strengths of the
format, as well as opportunities to serve the customer better,
while improving the stores’ overall operational performance,” Jones
said. “We are redirecting the stores to further strengthen an
already-powerful customer proposition.”

“The Great Indoors is a viable, important format
that has always resonated with customers,” said Sears chairman and
CEO Alan Lacy. “The business continues to hold great promise.”

The publicly-traded Sears said it anticipates
recording an after-tax charge in its fiscal third quarter of
between $75 million and $100 million in connection with the refined
Great Indoors strategy.

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