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Sears marks 20 years since Big Book catalog's final print run


HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears was arguably synonymous with its “Big Book” catalog, but as the world became more technologically advanced and look books went digital, the retailer bade its catalog and catalog stores farewell and shifted to a new retail model of locally owned and operated dealer stores.

It’s been 20 years since the final run on the Sears catalog, and to mark the occasion, Sears Hometown Stores are hosting a throwback promotional weekend celebration from July 26-27 featuring current versions of popular items advertised in 1993, priced the same as they were 20 years ago, if not lower.

"One of the Super Buys advertised in 1993 was a 3-cubic-ft. capacity, 11-cycle Kenmore washer for $429.99," said COO Will Powell. "To celebrate our 20th anniversary event, we'll offer a 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% off the shopper's entire purchase. These cards will be available while supplies last, terms and conditions apply and further details will be available at stores.

"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, 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.

"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."

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