Format No Longer Essential to Sears
By George Anderson
The Sears Essentials banner has been rendered obsolete.
Sears Holdings Corp. announced yesterday that it was bringing to an end its one-year experiment with the Essentials format and will turn 50 stores currently under that banner and 14 other Kmart locations into smaller versions of its Grand format in the near future.
Sears Essentials stores are typically smaller than Grand locations with a range of 80,500 to 130,000 square feet, compared with Sears Grand units that go as big as 210,000 square feet.
The renamed stores will be remodeled with upgraded flooring, fixtures and signage. The cost based on past estimates given by former CEO Alan Lacy could be up to $4 million per store.
Sears Grand convenience food section
The Grand format stores sell the same merchandise as full-line Sears department stores with additional departments, including convenience foods, pharmacy and music.
Sears spokesperson Chris Brathwaite told the Chicago Sun-Times that the company came to the conclusion that it had one format too many. “We didn’t need to have Sears Grand, Sears Essentials and Sears,” he said.
Neil Stern, senior partner at McMillan/Doolittle, said it will take more than a name change for the store to be successful.
“From an efficiency stand point it doesn’t make sense to have two names out there,” he told Crain’s Chicago Business. “Grand is probably the better name, but neither one has established any brand equity. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what name they call it, it’s what they’re going to sell and how they promote it that makes the difference.”
Mr. Stern said Sears has the opportunity to learn from the mistakes it made with the Essentials stores. The format failed, in part, because the stores were basically Kmarts with Sears brand products in them, he said.
Moderator’s Comment: What lessons can Sears gain from its failed test of the Essentials format? What will it have to do with the smaller Grand format
stores to be successful? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Sears ditches Sears Essentials format – Crain’s Chicago Business
- Sears pulls plug on Essential – Chicago Sun-Times