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Sears Hometown and Outlet CEO out, search on for replacement


New York -- On the heels of disappointing sales trends, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. said that its CEO W. Bruce Johnson will leave the company Aug. 1.

The company also announced that the board of directors has commenced a search for a new CEO and has retained Heidrick & Struggles, a leading global executive search firm, to assist the Board in identifying and evaluating external and internal candidates.

William R. Harker, chairman of the board of directors, said: "The Board and I are very grateful for Bruce's many contributions and efforts since the Company was separated from Sears Holdings Corporation in October 2012. We will miss Bruce's strong leadership and insights." Johnson said, "I am proud of the Company's accomplishments since the separation. I will be leaving an excellent team in place that is dedicated to the Company's success. I believe the Company has a bright future."

Johnson has been a director and CEO and president of the company since July 2012. He served in various capacities as EVP of Sears Holdings Corp. from February 2011 until July 2012. He served as Sears Holdings' interim CEO and president from February 2008 to February 2011 and as a member of the Board of Directors of Sears Holdings from May 2010 to May 2011. He previously served as Sears Holdings' EVP, Supply Chain and Operations since the merger of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Holding Corporation in 2005. Since July 2010 he has served on the Board of Visitors of Duke Law School, and since January 2009 he has served on the Board of Directors of the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, working on its finance committee.

In its March earnings report, Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores reported a 2.7% decline in net sales for 2014, a 5.7% drop in comparable store sales, and a $232.3 million decrease in operating income. Last year, it also recorded a $167 million charge for impairment of goodwill and another $13.1 million related to the reserve for potential losses on franchisee receivables.

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. is a national retailer primarily focused on selling home appliances, hardware, tools, and lawn and garden equipment. As of Jan. 31 the company operated a total of 1,260 stores across all 50 states as well as in Puerto Rico and Bermuda.

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