In a bid to alter and improve its retail profile, Sears, Roebuck and Company has announced plans to open a series of what it is calling “smaller format” stores.
While typical Sears department stores have measured around 160,000 square feet on average, and the company’s Grand Stores have been as large as 225,000 square feet, the smaller stores are expected to come in at anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 square feet.
The new format will emphasize the goods that made the more than 100 year-old chain famous in the first place: tools, home furnishings, and appliances.
The initial stores are also going up in the kind of mid-sized markets that Sears has for decades dominated: Anchorage, Alaska; Lafayette, Louisiana; and Overland Park, Kansas.
“We are here to serve these communities and this is a part of our strategy to maintain a presence in markets where we have right-sized our footprint,” said Peter Bourtours, the chief brand officer for Sears, in a statement.
How many of the new small format stores will be built, and where they will be located, has not yet been announced.
Ironically, the new Overland Park store, which is being built out in a shopping mall space that once belonged to a furniture store, is in a city that once had a traditionally large Sears store.
That 209,000 square foot space was built more than fifty years ago, but was closed in 2017 as one of the more than 500 stores shut down by the company. The structure has since been sold.
The new smaller format stores in Anchorage and Lafayette are also being built in refurbished shopping mall space.
By Garry Boulard
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