Sears, Roebuck & Co. (NYSE: S) announced it is making major changes in its appliance business to win back customers from the competition. Revitalizing appliance departments in Sears' 870 stores is a strategy aimed at helping the company maintain and grow its longtime front-runner position in appliances.
Sears currently leads the appliance industry, with a 39 percent national market share in appliance sales - triple the closest competitor's. Sears is the only retailer where consumers can select from 4,000 brand-name appliances compared to 2,500 at the next closest competitor.
"One of the main reasons we have been able to lead appliance sales for so many years is our ability to adapt to our customers' needs," said Tina Settecase, vice president/general manager of home appliances at Sears. "Our store sales associates' knowledge, exceptional service and selection of brands is un-matched by any competitor and will not change. But we are making improvements that will freshen and enhance the appliance shopping experience. Sears helps enable the good life with the right selection of products, the right service at the right price."
Customers visiting the appliance department at Sears can look forward to the following improvements later this summer:
-- More "Value" Priced Products - Sears is expanding its offering of "value" products to give consumers a broader selection of appliances at opening price points, coinciding with the recent trend of value products sales growth. Sears also is offering more aggressive pricing on many appliance models. -- Changes in the In-store Shopping Experience - Sears has reconfigured how appliances are presented on the sales floor, and is testing three layouts: - An expanded value center, with value product grouped in one area of the department . - A "good", "better", "best" presentation of appliances, enabling shoppers to see the lowest priced products as they first enter the department. - Appliances organized from "good" to "better" to "best" by brand. -- Improved Signage - Sears is best in class in product presentation/selection and has improved signage to continue to give consumers the best possible shopping experience. The "before" and "after" photos of the Sears appliance department are dramatic. These changes will be in place in stores by late summer. -- Take Me Home Today (TMHT) Products - Sears is expanding by 50 percent its offering of branded appliances that consumers can take home today. Currently, approximately 30 percent of the 240 to 260 appliance models found at Sears are TMHT. -- Price Match Policy - Sears recently introduced a 110 percent price match policy means consumers simply won't find a better price at any other retailer, but if they do - Sears will match it and give the customer 10 percent of the difference in price. -- Marketing - Sears is launching print and broadcast ads, direct mail and public relations that clearly tell consumers why Sears is the best place to buy an appliance.
In addition to the price match policy, value price products and improved signage, Sears will utilize the following components to maintain and boost appliance sales:
-- Currently testing the sales of appliances at eight of its existing Sears Hardware stores, with potential to expand into these 160 outlets. -- Sears delivers - Only Sears has more than 560 stores that are now offering next day delivery in many large markets or 48-hour delivery on more than 2,000 appliance models. -- Offers an outstanding selection of appliances at all price points - good, better and best.
Sears' exclusive Kenmore brand is still the most widely recognized and respected appliance name in the U.S. The most recent consumer data shows that Kenmore and Kenmore Elite occupy a 27 percent national market share of all appliance sales. That, coupled with a powerhouse brand lineup such as Amana, Bosch, Frigidaire, GE, KitchenAid and Maytag gives Sears a product set no competitor can match.
"While we're confident that our appliance business delivers what consumers want, we also realize that the industry is much more competitive than just a few years ago and the state of the economy has made consumers more cautious about how they spend," said Settecase. Despite this challenging economy, Sears has continued to see growth in the high-end category and with the introduction of new "value" products, will continue to see growth through all levels of its appliance brands. In 2003, Sears will continue its commitment to Energy Star and energy-efficient appliances, knowledgeable customer service and remaining a one-stop destination for all consumers.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a broadline retailer with significant service and credit businesses. In 2002, the company's annual revenue was $41 billion. The company offers its wide range of apparel, home and automotive products and services to families in the U.S. through Sears stores nationwide, including approximately 870 full-line stores. Sears also offers a variety of merchandise and services through its Web sites, sears.com and landsend.com , and a variety of specialty catalogs.
SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.
CONTACT: Larry Costello of Sears PR, +1-847-286-9036,
firstname.lastname@example.org , or Kim Charney for Sears, +1-312-251-1223,