Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Debuts at No. 87 on Franchise Times Top 200

Leading National Retail Franchisor Recognized for Outstanding Sales and Franchise System Growth; Ranks No. 8 in Retail Category

October 14, 2014 // Franchising.com // HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOS) has debuted at No. 87 on Franchise Times magazine's Top 200 list of the largest franchise systems in the United States. The burgeoning retail franchisor also ranked No. 8 in the list's retail category.

Based on the previous year's performance, the Franchise Times Top 200 is an annual ranking of the 200 largest franchise systems in the United States by global system-wide sales. To be eligible for the Top 200, a franchise must have a sizable presence in the United States and franchisees must own at least 15 percent of the system's units.

"Our franchise growth has picked up serious momentum over the past few years, especially with more multi-unit franchisees joining our system and an increase in national awareness of our franchise opportunities – our high rankings on the Franchise Times Top 200 list are proof of this," said Scott Nichols, director of franchise business development at Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. "We have a solid group of all-star franchisees who are building highly-skilled teams that are focused on providing customers with the highest level of service. This honor is a testament to their efforts."

As of August 2, 2014, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. and its dealers and franchisees operated 1,251 stores across all 50 states as well as in Puerto Rico and Bermuda. The company franchises three store formats – Sears Home Appliance Showrooms, Sears Appliance & Hardware Stores and Sears Outlet Stores. The three store formats focus on selling home appliances, hardware, tools, lawn and garden equipment and more.

The company is focused on expanding with multi-unit franchisees in key growth markets throughout the United States, and has specifically identified the following open territories where they would prefer to have a single multi-unit franchisee in each market: Albany, NY; Albuquerque, NM; Amarillo, McAllen and San Antonio, TX; Bakersfield and Palmdale, CA; Baltimore, MD/Washington, D.C.; Cincinnati and Columbus OH; Cleveland, OH; Connecticut; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Lansing and Portage, MI; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Pittsburgh, PA; and Richmond, VA.

Driving the company's growth, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. is seeing an increase in interest from multi-unit restaurant franchise operators who would like to diversify their franchise portfolios. For example, Tony Lutfi owns 200-plus franchise units across eight franchise brands – all are various restaurant franchises besides 17 Sears Outlet Stores, 16 Sears Home Appliance Showrooms and three Sears Appliance & Hardware Stores.

When asked about his decision to expand his franchise portfolio outside of the restaurant industry, Mr. Lutfi stated: "When the economy was down, part of our strategy was that we didn't want to add more quick-service restaurants because it was risky – we wanted value, the greatest potential of upside, with minimal risk. Many consumers are remodeling and upgrading their homes after deciding not to sell, which should help the appliance business boom."

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 franchise, please visit www.ownasearsstore.com.

About Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc.

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 August 2, 2014, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. and its dealers and franchisees operated 1,251 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, 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 list prices.

SOURCE Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc.

Contact:

Jayne Levy
Fishman Public Relations
(847) 945-1300
jlevy@fishmanpr.com
www.shos.com.

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