Sears Opening Smaller-Format Appliance Stores

Image courtesy of Mark Clifton

Even though Sears is constantly adding underperforming stores to its list of closing locations, the once-great retailer isn’t ready for burial just yet. In an effort to focus on one of its core businesses, Sears is thinking small.

Next week, Sears will open its first smaller-format store in Colorado focused solely on appliances, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The new store, which was announced by CEO Edward Lampert during an annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, will be a fraction of the size of a typical Sears, no more than 10,000 square feet compared to 138,000 square feet.

“We have and we will be trying a lot of things,” Lampert said of the stores, noting that many of the retailer’s online-services will make an appearance at the physical locations.

Additionally, he says the company will “probably” add more of the focused, small-format stores in 2016, the Tribune reports.

This, of course, isn’t the first time Sears has attempted to cater to a more niche audience by downsizing its stores. The company previously opened a fitness-focused store in 2012, but it later closed.

More recently, the retailer began opening a store-within-a-store concept with its Sears Hometown brand.

Sears Hometown stores are usually in smaller cities and stores, and sell home goods that include the famous house brands associated with Sears, like Craftsman and Kenmore. Two new Hometown stores that have opened recently are in interesting locations: one in California is inside an Ace Hardware, and another in Maine is inside a rent-to-own store.

The smaller stores are part of the retailer’s attempt to turn around its business, analysts tell the Chicago Tribune, after determining earlier this year that the company was no longer “viable as a retailer in its current form.”

Sears also faces new competition in the appliance world, following JCPenney’s recent announcement that the department store chain is increasing the number of locations that sell appliances and other home goods.

Sears planning smaller-format appliance stores [Chicago Tribune]

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