Harris Interactive Study Shows Water Quality, Drought Are Major Concerns In Eastern United States

Nine-City Survey Shows Nearly Half of Respondents Have 'Major' Health-Related Concerns About Water Quality

According to a study just released by Harris Interactive(SM), water quality issues and water availability are major concerns in the Eastern United States. The survey was conducted for Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S).

  Topline Results
  --  Overall (in all nine markets) 47% of respondents indicated their
      concerns about health-related contaminants, such as arsenic, lead,
      pesticides, bacteria, cysts (cryptosporidium), etc.; in New York City,
      61% have the same concerns.

  --  Overall, 48% indicated they are concerned with the taste/odor,
      particularly chlorine.

  --  In New York City, 90% of respondents said water availability is either
      a minor or major problem (59% said it is a major problem).

  --  Respondents said they are actively taking steps to conserve water.
      Overall, 63% of respondents are waiting to run their clothes washer
      until they have a full load; and 51% are doing the same with their

"As the preferred resource to outfit today's evolving home and family, Sears is committed to educating the public on important topics, such as energy and water conservation. This survey was commissioned as part of our consumer education campaign to help eliminate confusion around water- and energy- related issues," said Lyle Heidemann, executive vice president and general manager of hardlines for Sears.

  Other Key Findings
  --  64% of respondents said rebates were motivators for their purchase
      decisions when buying energy-efficient and water-saving appliances.

  --  Which store comes to mind first when consumers think of buying an
      energy-efficient appliance?  Overall, 53% said Sears; 16% said Best
      Buy; 6% said Home Depot; 5% said Lowe's and 3% said Wal-Mart.

  --  83% of respondents said they would be fairly likely (23%) or very
      likely (60%) to buy an energy-efficient appliance the next time they
      are in the market for an appliance.

  --  28% of respondents had purchased a newly constructed home; of those,
      however, only 4% were offered Energy Starâ„¢ appliances as an option
      by the builder. Energy Star, the national symbol for energy
      efficiency, was established in 1992 by EPA. With help from the U.S.
      Department of Energy, Energy Star is empowering consumers and
      businesses to protect the environment through energy efficiency.

"This study indicates the importance of understanding the options consumers have for improved water quality -- from water filters to reverse osmosis systems to the ultimate water purifier -- the Kenmore Deluxe Water Purifier, which is the only product of its kind that kills all microbiological contaminants. Consumers who are interested in conserving water can find high- efficiency washers like the Kenmore Elite HE3t or the new Kenmore SmartWash dishwasher and a variety of other leading brands at Sears," said Larry Costello, spokesperson for Sears.


The survey was commissioned by Sears, Roebuck and Co., conducted May 14 - May 20, 2002 via the Internet by Harris Interactive within the United States among 1,972 adults (25+). Figures for age, sex, race, education and income were weighted where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

The results are representative of the populations within the markets sampled: Baltimore (202), Boston (222), Chicago (219), Dallas (221), Detroit (223), Houston (224), New York City (218), Philadelphia (221) and Washington, D.C. (222). Each market, with 95% confidence level, has a margin of error of approximately +/-7%.

Harris Interactive ( http://www.harrisinteractive.com/ ) is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll® and its pioneering use of the Internet to conduct scientifically accurate market research. It combines the power of unique methodologies and technology with international expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. Headquartered in Rochester, NY, with offices across the United States, in the United Kingdom, in Japan and a global network of local market and opinion research firms, the company conducts international research with fluency in multiple languages.

Sears is America's leading retailer of Energy Star appliances and is America's top choice for quality water. Kenmore, the most popular appliance brand in America, sold only at Sears, is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2002.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a broadline retailer with significant service and credit businesses. In 2001, the company's annual revenue was more than $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 site, http://www.sears.com/ .


SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

CONTACT: Marlene Tsareff of MRA, Inc., +1-317-769-7600,
mtsareff@iquest.net , or Larry Costello of Sears PR, +1-847-286-9036,
lcoste5@sears.com , or Nancy Wong of Harris Interactive, +1-585-214-7316,

Web site: http://www.sears.com/

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