Sears sees its future in Grand-est opening yet
By Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, 9/22/2003 12:00:00 AM
WEST JORDAN, UT —
Sears looks to the future with the soft opening here this past weekend of the first of five pilot Sears Grand stores, part of its off-the-mall strategy.
The store's concept is a "work in progress" that won't be complete for about 18 months after the other four stores open, said Jerry Post, senior vp, general manager of Sears' off-the-mall strategies.
Home furnishings play a major role in the new store, and the configurations and adjacencies are different from a conventional Sears store, where home could be scattered among two or three floors, Post said.
The home quadrant, anchored by appliances, "is perhaps the most powerful in the store," he said, and includes bath, bedding, window, kitchen with tabletop, appliances and housewares. The Lands' End brand is featured, but, unlike apparel, it does not have a shop of its own, Post said. "We haven't carved out a shop as we have in men's and women's, but we will continue to work on it."
Rugs are included "and we're pretty good up to 6' x 9', and we're spending a lot of time working on it."
The store evolved from consumer research, Post explained. It is also is a recognition that "Sears' full-line stores are mall-based and there aren't many malls being built." He added that it's also a recognition of the way customers shop today by placing Sears Grand in direct competition with Best Buy, Wal-Mart Supercenters, Bed Bath & Beyond, Circuit City, Kohl's and more.
The store is 208,000 square feet with 155,000 square feet for selling. The one-level store is laid out differently from a conventional Sears, with adjacencies planned for shopping convenience as well as male or female preferences, Post explained. Consumables, a plant nursery, a year-round toy department, a card shop and a full automotive center are included.
The store layout has two entrances.
The balance of the store is divided into adjacencies, with one more oriented toward men with hardware, automotive, nursery, fitness departments that lead to men's apparel. The center is men's, women's and children's apparel. The back center, Post said, is focused on family entertainment with merchandise beyond the assortment usually found at Sears, including large screen TVs, DVDs, game software, and accessories.
Sears plans to open four more pilot Sears Grand stores, one in Gurnee, IL, of about 200,000 square feet; a 165,000 square foot store in Las Vegas; and a 180,000 to 190,000 square foot store, probably in Texas. "In about 18 months we'll have a pretty good answer about size and merchandise," Post said.
"We benchmark the merchandise changes with competition and our buying team," he added. "We have separate merchandisers for Sears Grand.
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