July 11, 2013 // Franchising.com // HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – This year marks two decades since Sears, Roebuck and Co. did a final run of its legendary “Big Book” catalog, closing its catalog stores and shifting to a new retail model of locally owned and operated dealer stores. The move not only ushered in a new era for loyal shoppers, but provided opportunities for entrepreneurs to operate their own local Sears Hometown Store.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary, Sears Hometown Stores are hosting a “throwback” promotional weekend celebration July 26-27 featuring current versions of some popular items advertised in 1993, with the same or lower pricing than 1993 pricing. “One of the Super Buys advertised in 1993 was a 3 cubic foot capacity, 11 cycle Kenmore washer for $429.99,” said Chief Operating Officer Will Powell, “To celebrate our 20th anniversary event, we’ll offer an comparable Kenmore washer but it will have larger capacity, more cycles, an energy star rating and it will be priced under $400.” In addition to other featured “throwback” pricing, each shopper will also receive an anniversary scratch card for an additional “mystery discount” of up to an additional 20 percent off the shopper’s entire purchase. These cards will be available while they last, terms and conditions apply, and further details can be found in store.
“Looking back over the past 20 years, we’re celebrating tremendous progress,” said CEO and President Bruce Johnson. “Everyone has memories of ordering from the eagerly awaited ‘Big Book’ for delivery to a local catalog store or their home. The ‘Big Book’ is gone. But as much as things change, we continue to grow by providing top-notch customer service, and we still provide incredible values.”
In 1993, after Sears, Roebuck and Co. announced it would close approximately 2,000 catalog stores, Sears, Roebuck and Co. launched the dealer store opportunity. These original dealer stores, known as Sears Hometown Stores, allowed 122 prior catalog store owners to continue to serve their local communities with the backing of the Sears® brand.
The Sears Hometown Stores have since grown into a network of more than 900 locations, and are now part of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOS), a publicly traded company that is separate from Sears Holdings Corporation. These stores primarily sell appliances, tools, lawn and garden equipment and seasonal outdoor products.
For original Hometown Store owners who experienced the evolution firsthand, the anniversary holds special value.
“I started working at a Sears catalog store in the telephone department in 1958,” said Lucille Cooper, owner of the Sears Hometown Store in Bogalusa, La. “I loved working for Sears and worked my way up, eventually becoming a store manager. When we heard that the catalog stores were closing, our entire community was distressed. A few weeks later, I heard about the opportunity to buy a dealer store in my hometown, and I immediately took it. Everything has come full circle.”
For more information about Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc., please visit www.shos.com. To learn about the opportunity to own and operate a Sears Hometown store format or other format, please visit www.ownasearsstore.com.
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOS) is a national retailer primarily focused on selling home appliances, lawn and garden equipment, tools and hardware. As of May 4, 2013, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. and its dealers and franchisees operated 1,253 stores across all 50 states as well as in Puerto Rico and Bermuda.
In addition to merchandise, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. provide consumers with access to a full suite of services, including home delivery, installation and extended service contracts.
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. operates through two segments—the Sears Hometown and Hardware segment and the Sears Outlet segment. The Sears Hometown and Hardware segment’s stores are designed to provide customers with in-store and online access to a wide selection of national brands of home appliances, lawn and garden equipment, tools, sporting goods and household goods, depending on the particular store. The Sears Outlet stores are designed to provide customers with in-store and online access to purchase new, one-of-a-kind, out-of-carton, discontinued, obsolete, used, reconditioned, overstocked and scratched and dented products across a broad assortment of merchandise categories, including home appliances, apparel, mattresses, sporting goods, tools and lawn and garden equipment at prices that are significantly lower than manufacturers’ suggested retail prices.
SOURCE: Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc.
Fishman Public Relations