Sears Launches Bob the Builder™ Exclusive Apparel and Selected Accessories

Worldwide Preschool Sensation Makes His Debut in 860 U.S. Stores

Bob the Builder, the lovable construction worker who has taken up residence on Nick Jr.® -- and in preschoolers' imaginations -- is making his home at Sears stores across the country. Beginning this month and through December 2001, Sears will be the exclusive U.S. retailer for Bob the Builder apparel, selected accessories and portrait backgrounds. The hit show, featuring Bob and his crew of fun-loving building machines, made its U.S. television debut in January on Nick Jr. to record-breaking premiere ratings, and since then has consistently topped the charts among the 2- to-5-year-old audience.

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In addition to trend-right children's apparel and selected accessories, Sears also is offering customers a selection of other products, including toys, gifts and home decor in its approximately 860 department stores. In selected stores, Sears Portrait Studios will offer Bob the Builder photo backgrounds for children and their families.

With colorful embroidered images of Bob, Wendy and their animal and machine friends featured on kids' T-shirts, tops, jeans, sweatshirts, and overalls, Sears exclusive apparel gives Bob the Builder fans a stylish way to identify with their favorite characters.

Denim overalls come with plaid flannel shirts, attached "work belts" and plastic tools, while carpenter-style jeans with hammer loops and functional "tool" pockets allow kids to build imaginative play through dress-up.

Broadcast in more than 100 countries worldwide, Bob the Builder has become a phenomenal international success, holding the top ratings spots in Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia and the U.K. In the U.S., the TV series has consistently ranked among the top three highest-rated cable shows for 2- to-5-year-olds since its smash January debut. Bob the Builder is created and produced by HIT Entertainment.

"Sears customers have come to expect to find the latest in high-quality kids' licensed character merchandise at our stores," said Greg Sandfort, vice president of Children's Apparel and Hardlines at Sears. "The Bob the Builder property is a great way for Sears to connect with the important preschool market, especially since the series features characters that stress important skills such as problem-solving and teamwork."

With apparel that makes teamwork fashionable -- and fun -- clothing is available in girls' and boys' toddler sizes 2 to 4, sizes 4 to 7 for boys and sizes 4 to 6X for girls. (Girls' apparel is available only in select, major- market Sears stores.) Suggested retail prices range from $10.99 to $12.99 for screen Ts, $19.99 to $24.99 for separates, and from $29.99 to $34.99 for clothing sets. Toddler Bob the Builder footwear -- with features like "wrench" closures and rugged lug soles -- will debut mid-September and retail for $16.99.

"Our partnership with Sears ensures broad consumer exposure for our 'can-do' character, who is fast becoming a household name among families with young children," said Holly Stein, senior vice president of global Consumer Products at HIT Entertainment.

Targeted at preschool children, Bob the Builder is a stop-frame model animation series that follows the adventures of an ever-friendly and helpful builder, his capable business partner Wendy, and their crew of fun-loving machines and animal friends. Set in and around a construction yard in a small town, the series depicts the characters working together to help each other out of trouble while solving problems and providing shoulders to lean on. Each episode empowers preschoolers with a "can-do" attitude, and contains timeless storylines that always offer a positive and clear pro-social message.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a leading U.S. retailer of apparel, home and automotive products and services, with annual revenue of more than $40 billion. The company serves families throughout the U.S. through approximately 860 full-line department stores, more than 2,100 specialized retail locations, and a variety of online offerings accessible through the company's Web site, .

Established in 1989, the U.K.-based HIT Entertainment PLC is one of the world's leaders in quality family entertainment. HIT Entertainment acquired the U.S.-based Lyrick® Studios in 2001, creating a preschool powerhouse with children's programming that includes Barney™ the Dinosaur, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina™ and Kipper™. HIT Entertainment also distributes such acclaimed children's branded properties as The Wiggles® and VeggieTales®. HIT Entertainment is a fully integrated global studio, which incorporates production, distribution, publishing, licensing and merchandising.



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SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Contact: Media, Maureen Jenkins of Sears, Roebuck and Co., 847-286-9017,
or , or Ann Schwarz of Nina Stern Public Relations,
818-981-4482, , for Sears, Roebuck and Co.


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