Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Ranks in the Top 200 of Entrepreneur's Franchise 500(R)

Leading National Retailer Experiences High Franchise Growth with Multi-Unit Franchise Owners

December 19, 2014 // Franchising.com // HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOS) has made its second consecutive placement in Entrepreneur magazine's 36th Annual Franchise 500® list, placing at No. 157.

Noted as the world's first, best and most comprehensive franchise ranking, the Franchise 500 recognized Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. for its exceptional performance in areas including financial strength and stability, growth rate, and size of the franchise system. The Company franchises three store formats that focus on selling home appliances, hardware, tools, lawn and garden equipment and more - Sears Home Appliance Showrooms, Sears Appliance & Hardware Stores and Sears Outlet Stores.

"We've seen increased interest over the past few years from Wall Street investors and multi-unit restaurant franchise operators who would like to diversify their portfolios," said Scott Nichols, Director, Franchise Business Development at Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. "Growing with these all-star franchisees and our continued high ranking on the Franchise 500 speak volumes to the strength of our franchise opportunity."

With more than 90 percent of its franchise system consisting of multi-unit operators, the Company is focused on continuing its expansion with multi-unit franchisees in key growth markets throughout the United States. Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. has specifically identified the following open territories for Sears Outlet Stores where they would prefer, where appropriate, to have a single, multi-unit franchisee in each market: Albany, NY; Albuquerque, NM; Amarillo, McAllen and San Antonio, TX; Bakersfield and Palmdale, CA; Modesto and Fresno, CA; Baltimore, MD/Washington, D.C.; Birmingham, AL; Chicago, IL; Cincinnati and Columbus, OH; Cleveland, OH; Connecticut; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Lansing and Portage, MI; Lafayette and Lake Charles, LA; Las Vegas and Reno, NV; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Philadelphia, PA and South Jersey; Pittsburgh, PA; and Richmond, VA.

These available markets for Sears Outlet Stores are turnkey business opportunities with no upfront inventory costs. Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. offers 80 percent financing for the purchase of an existing corporate location. In addition, franchise owners benefit from existing customer relationships, access to premier brands exclusive to Sears and its respective affiliates and ongoing support and training across all areas of the business. Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. also handles merchandising, transportation logistics, delivery and installation.

For franchisee Ahmed El-Hawary, who owns 17 Sears Outlet Stores as well as four Firehouse Subs and two Golden Corral restaurants, investing in Sears Outlet Stores was the most cost-effective way to grow his franchise portfolio. When asked about his decision to invest in franchises outside of the restaurant industry, Mr. El-Hawary stated: "Sears Outlet Stores is a great franchise investment that benefits from Sears' iconic history, but has a whole new, fresh business model. It's been an exciting ride, and by far the fastest-growing segment in our company. Building restaurants takes more time because of the larger footprint, so we're now focusing more on developing Sears Outlet Stores."

For more information about Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc., visit www.shos.com. To learn about the opportunity to own and operate a franchise, visit www.ownasearsstore.com.

Complete results of Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500® list, including company profiles, can be found at www.entrepreneur.com/franchise500.

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 November 1, 2014, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. and its dealers and franchisees operated 1,257 stores across all 50 states as well as in Puerto Rico and Bermuda.

In addition to merchandise, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. provides 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.

For more information contact: Jayne Levy, Fishman Public Relations, at (847) 945-1300 or jlevy@fishmanpr.com or visit the corporate website at www.shos.com.

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