After Decades Of Settling For Sterile-White Laundry Rooms, Consumers Voice Their Desire For More Space And Color

Survey Shows 70% of U.S. Women Homeowners Who Own a Washer and Dryer* Dislike Spending Time In Their Laundry Rooms

(International Builder Show) -- A remarkable finding from a national survey released today, commissioned by Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S) and conducted by Harris Interactive®, shows that more than half (56%) of homeowners overall would be willing to upgrade appliance choices for their new home.

The clothes washer and dryer are listed among the top appliance choices that homeowners would like to add to a new home if they were to move. When homeowners in general were asked what appliances they would consider purchasing to complete the builder's appliance package, the refrigerator (78%) was the most common answer, followed closely by the clothes washer (75%), and the clothes dryer (74%).

According to Sears' vice president and general manager of appliances, Tina Settecase, the laundry room is commanding a position of new importance in the home.

"New homeowners perceive the laundry room as a new utility and multi- tasking room, and they are not happy with their current laundry setup."

According to the survey, 70% of women homeowners* do not enjoy the time they spend in the laundry room. "They don't like the look of their laundry rooms," Settecase said. "In fact, 55% of them said they craved a laundry room makeover."

The survey helped reveal reasons why these women crave a laundry room makeover. Laundry rooms are seen as too small or cluttered (62%) and disorganized (35%). These women think they need to better decorate their laundry rooms (25%) and some said they do not like their current washer and dryer (21%).

"With laundry rooms migrating from the basement to the main living area of the home, women homeowners* want to extend the style and decor of their kitchens to their laundry rooms," says Settecase.

In the survey, women homeowners* were very specific about what they wanted in a laundry room makeover -- more storage (43%) and counter space (26%) to create a well-organized laundry room. There were two main elements around which women homeowners* would redesign their laundry room -- the storage and counter space (48%) and the laundry appliance pair (33%).

Sears Kenmore is bringing three new washer-dryer colors to the laundry room: Pacific Blue (a deeply saturated slate-blue), Champagne (a beige color with flecks of iridescence) and Sedona (a deep red-orange terra cotta color). Without revealing that Sears would be unveiling these colors in stores in January, the survey asked women homeowners* which of the three colors they would most likely use as a primary color for their laundry room: 28% chose Pacific Blue, 27% Champagne and 5% Sedona. 40% percent would not choose one of those colors as their laundry room's primary color.

These numbers changed when the same group of consumers was asked: "If you could buy a colorful washer and dryer in one of these colors, which one would you choose?"

   -- Pacific Blue      38%
   -- Champagne         37%
   -- Sedona             9%
   -- None of these     16%

Many women homeowners* said they were willing to spend in the thousands- of-dollars range to get the laundry room of their dreams. Thirty-four percent said they would be willing to pay $1,000 to $2,000 for a makeover, and 21% would be willing to spend above $2,000.

"In summary, the survey illustrates the need of consumers to have input into the appliance choices for their homes, and while most homeowners are unhappy in their laundry rooms they are ready, willing and able to do something about it," Settecase said.

* Women homeowners who own a washer and dryer

Editor Note: For a press release or photo of the new Kenmore Elite HE4t washers and dryers visit .

Harris Interactive® fielded the online survey on behalf of Sears, Roebuck and Co. between December 10-14, 2004, among a nationwide sample of 2,176 U.S. adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 1,370 were homeowners and 680 were women homeowners who own a washer and dryer. The data were weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity and propensity to be online.

In theory, with a sample of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the results for the overall sample have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Sampling error for the homeowner results and for the women homeowners who own a washer and dryer results is plus or minus 3 percentage points and plus or minus 4 percentage points, respectively. This online sample is not a probability sample.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. With revenues in 2003 of $41.1 billion, the company offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,300 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the U.S. and Canada, which includes approximately 870 full-line and 1,100 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears also offers a variety of merchandise and services through,, and specialty catalogs. Sears is the only retailer where consumers can find each of the Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands' End brands together - among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. The company is the largest provider of product repair services with more than 14 million service calls made annually.

About Harris Interactive®

Harris Interactive Inc. ( ), the 15th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, is a Rochester, N.Y.-based global research company that blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application. Known for The Harris Poll® and for pioneering Internet-based research methods, Harris Interactive conducts proprietary and public research to help its clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.

Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital, databases and technology to advance market leadership through U.S. offices and wholly owned subsidiaries: London-based HI Europe ( ), Paris-based Novatris ( ), Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan, through newly acquired WirthlinWorldwide ( ), a Reston, Virginia-based research and consultancy firm ranked 25th largest in the world, and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies.

SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

CONTACT: Larry Costello of Sears PR, +1-847-286-9036, , or Marlene Tsareff, +1-317-769-7600,

Web site:

© Transform SR Brands, LLC