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First Look: Sears goes smaller with new Home & Life stores

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Sears has unveiled its next chapter, Sears Home & Life, opening stores in Lafayette, Louisiana, Overland Park, Kansas, and Anchorage, Alaska.

The apparel-free, smaller-sized format (the footprint ranges from 10,000 sq. ft. to 15,000 sq. ft.) is focused on selling major and small kitchen appliances, mattresses, tools, connected home products and home services. Artwork and photos in the stores include images of the local community.

Sears has said the Home & Life concept was developed based on insights from the company’s Sears Appliances & Mattresses format, which debuted in 2017, in Pharr, Texas, and was followed by a handful of additional locations.

"We've been listening to our customers …. and they told us they want our best categories – appliances, mattresses, tools and our Home Services offering,” said Peter Boutros, chief brand officer for Sears and Kmart and president of Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands. “Our customers also will have access to our entire product offering through the online Search Bar.”

The launch of the new format comes as Sears is looking for a fresh start. In February, an affiliate of ESL Investments, the hedge fund run by Sears Holdings Corp. chairman Eddie Lampert, completed its $5.2 billion acquisition of the bankrupt company. The new Sears consists of 223 Sears and 202 Kmart stores, along with such brands and operating businesses as Kenmore, DieHard, Craftsman and Sears Home Services. (All other stores have closed or are in process of closing.)

The new Home & Life stores carry Sears’ longtime signature brands such as Kenmore appliances and Craftsman tools, along with a mix of other major brands, including Sealy, Tempur-Pedic and Simmons mattresses and Stanley tools. Appliances are displayed in kitchen and laundry vignettes. A curated assortment of “smart” or connected home products is also featured. Shoppers will also be able to learn how to set up a smart home with reliable appliances that are compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, the retailer said.

In addition, there is a big emphasis on Sears’ home services, with a dedicated area that offers appliance repair, parts and accessories. Shoppers can also consult with experts about their home improvement needs and purchase such products as windows, roofing, kitchen cabinets, countertops, flooring and more.

Additional store features include a “welcome” service desk where customers can meet with store experts to explore how new appliances would look in a full-scale kitchen. There is also a “Search Bar” kiosk where customers can access and order items from Sears’s entire assortment of products and services, with the purchase picked up in-store or delivered to their home. Sears Home & Life also offers curbside pickup and buy-online-pick-up-in-store services.
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