Sears has full plate in 2004
By Andrea Lillo -- Home Textiles Today, 2/2/2004 12:00:00 AM
HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL. —
Focusing on what is working in stores, while attempting to fix what is not, Sears has several objectives for this year, such as continuing to learn from its latest format, Sears Grand.
It will open three more Grand formats this year, said Alan Lacy, Sears chairman and CEO. Each will be a different size and carry a different assortment of merchandise to test and "generate valuable learnings on the format," he said, adding that the format "provides the company with a significant new way to grow our store base."
Last year, the company accomplished a lot, Lacy said, including the rollout of the Land's End brand into all of its full-line stores. Sears is pleased with the brand's performance, and sales are up 20 percent over last year, he said, with 90 percent of the in-store purchasers buying the brand for the first time.
Land's End still needs tailoring, said Lacy. In some stores, "we can't keep up with demand." However, the brand name hasn't taken off in some of Sears' "down markets," where customers are not familiar with Lands' End.
The company also re-launched Sears.com in October, adding more product information and easier navigation.
The site has already seen an increase of more than 40 percent in sales — including products ordered online and picked up in stores — versus last year.
Lacy added, "We continue to have a lot on our plate, but we're headed in the right direction." Other initiatives include continuing top-line momentum and improving the margin structure. The company also continues to move from indirect to direct sourcing, particularly in the upstairs apparel and home fashions business, said Glenn Richter, senior vice president and chief financial officer.
Though he would not disclose the exact number, he said home fashions and household goods saw a high single-digit decline for the quarter.
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