Sears opens new free standing retail concept

(Author : Cassidy Mantor)
Despite its multiple store closings and job layoffs, Sears Holdings Corp. has this week opened a new concept store in Pharr, TX, branded as Sears Appliances and Mattresses.

Last year saw the first Sears Appliance concept store open in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Sears SVP for Customer Experience and Integrated Retail, Leena Munjal, said the consumer response to the appliance concept store was “overwhelmingly positive”. The new store is 20,000 square feet. The in-store experience gives consumers a feeling that they are in a kitchen where they see appliances merchandised in story vignettes designed to bring the product to life. The new Sears Appliances and Mattresses will carry ten major appliance brands including Sears’ private label Kenmore.

Sears also added a digital element to its new store. It offers an interactive 122 inch touchscreen display where consumers can see what the appliances would look like in a full size kitchen. Online consumers can make appointments to meet in store with sales associates. Appliances are Sears’ strongest category. Sears forecasts its 2017 sales for appliances alone will be $4 billion. Mattresses are Sears’ second strongest category. To that end, Sears has added mattresses its newest retail concept.

The move into specialized appliances is a strategic one for Sears. While it is scaling back in many areas of its business, it is aggressively pursuing this new market. Munjal said in a company blog post that plans are “underway to open additional Sears freestanding stores” in the Appliances and Mattresses concept.

Sears’ largest appliance competitor now is JCPenney. The Texas-based retailer began selling appliances again this year after being out of that market for over thirty years. On the same day that the new retail concept store opened, Sears Canada filed for bankruptcy. Sears Holdings also announced in an SEC filing on Friday that an additional 20 stores would close in the US. 18 of the stores closing are under the Sears brand with 2 closures of Kmart locations. Those stores will begin liquidation sales at the end of this month. The new freestanding Sears Appliance and Mattresses is located at 500 N. Jackson Road in Pharr, TX.

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