Cincinnati Pilots Sears New Retailing Concepts

  'Sears Like You've Never Seen Before' at Remodeled Stores Reopening On
                              Fri., Sept. 8

Sears CEO Arthur C. Martinez and Bob Vila Visiting Stores and Habitat For
                             Humanity Project

CINCINNATI, Sept. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Five Cincinnati-area Sears stores are part of a 13-unit pilot program that is testing innovative retailing ideas geared to create a "Sears Like You've Never Seen Before." The Sears stores are at Tri-County Mall in Springdale, and Northgate Mall, Eastgate Mall, and Western Hills Plaza in Cincinnati, Ohio; and Florence Mall in Florence, Ky. (other stores are in Indianapolis and Milwaukee).

The five Cincinnati-area stores officially reopen on Fri., Sept. 8 with ribbon-cutting ceremonies at 9:45 a.m. Arthur C. Martinez, chairman and chief executive officer of Sears, Roebuck and Co., as well as Bob Vila, popular home-improvement expert and spokesperson for Craftsman tools, will visit Sears stores and a Sears-sponsored Habitat for Humanity house.

"Our five Cincinnati-area Sears stores are a tremendous learning laboratory for our company," said Ken Smith, Sears district general manager. "We have researched our local customers' wants and needs, and redesigned and remerchandised our stores to serve them. In fact, our stores have been open throughout the remodeling process and customer feedback has been incredibly positive -- especially in regards to service, merchandise assortment and the overall 'shopability' of our stores."

All of the newly remodeled stores have wider aisles, brighter lighting, shopping carts for customers' convenience and the "At Your Service" customer service desk, to respond to shoppers' inquiries and special requests. Individual stores are testing innovative features such as wall-mounted customer-assistance pagers or scanners to help with product or pricing questions. At Sears Springdale store, customers will find Screenz@Sears, a computer center where people can read their e-mail, take computer classes, prepare business or school presentations, review and print their digital photos, and fax or scan materials. Several of the stores also feature Cafe Roebuck for light refreshments.

Each of the Sears Cincinnati test stores focuses on five "core" merchandise areas: appliances, hardware, electronics, home fashions and children's wear. They offer expanded product assortments and more brand names than ever before.

In the housewares area of Sears home-fashions department, the company is introducing Calphalon and Circulon cookware to its broad assortment, which also includes products from Kitchen Aid, Tilia and T-Fal. The children's department is expanding its merchandise assortment with exclusive lines such as Franklin the Turtle and Kid Cool, in addition to national brands such as OshKosh and Carters. The Cincinnati-area stores also feature Tool Territory, a new hardware/tool concept that Sears is rolling out to 140 stores this year. Tool Territory includes Craftsman, the most popular tool brand in America, as well as 72 new tool brands, such as Stanley, DeWalt, Makita, Delta, Fluke and Estwing -- 18,000 tools in all.

On Fri., Sept. 8, Sears will celebrate the remodeling of the five area stores with ribbon-cutting ceremonies at 9:45 a.m., at each of the stores. The Sears at Tri-County Mall in Springdale will be the focal point of the celebration with an event that will feature Sears CEO Arthur C. Martinez; Mary Conway, president of Sears stores; Shan Atkins, Sears executive vice president of strategic initiatives; Ken Smith, Sears district general manager; Ed Maunz, store manager of the Sears at Tri-County Mall; and Bob Vila.

  Several other events are planned for Fri., Sept. 8:

  -- At 11:30 a.m., Martinez and Vila will visit the Habitat for Humanity
     house that Sears Cincinnati-area associates are building at
     3938 Cass Ave. in Cincinnati.  The company has invested more than
     $50,000 to construct the two-story home for a mother and her four
     children.  Through Sears Good Life Alliance, the company is investing
     in communities and encouraging volunteer efforts by its many

  -- From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Bob Vila will sign autographs at the Sears at
     Tri-County Mall, 300 E. Kemper Rd. in Springdale, Ohio.

  -- From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Bob Vila will sign autographs at the Sears at
     Florence Mall, 3000 Mall Rd., in Florence, Ky.

Sears Gift Cards valued at $10 each will be given to the first 250 customers who enter each store after the ribbon-cutting ceremony (only one gift card per family). There also will be an opportunity for customers to register to win shopping sprees, as well as a trip for four to Walt Disney World.

In addition to Bob Vila's appearances on Fri., Sept. 8, other celebrity visits include:

  At Sears at Tri-County Mall, 300 East Kemper Rd., Springdale, Ohio,
  -- On Sat., Sept. 9, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. -- the Maytag Repairman
     will sign autographs.
  -- On Fri., Sept. 15, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. -- George Foreman will visit
     with customers.
  -- On Sat., Sept. 16, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. -- Jason Shane Scott, who
     plays Will Rappaport on "One Life to Live," will sign autographs.

  At Sears at Eastgate Mall, 4595 Eastgate Boulevard, Cincinnati, Ohio
  -- On Sat., Sept. 16, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. -- Ty Treadway, who plays
     Dr. Colin MacIver on "One Life to Live," will sign autographs.

  At Sears at Northgate Mall, 9505 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio
  -- On Sun., Sept. 17, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. -- Winsor Harmon, who plays
     Thorne Forrester on "The Bold and the Beautiful," will sign autographs.

  At Sears at Western Hills Plaza, 6000 Glenway Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio
  -- On Sun., Sept. 17, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. -- Scott Reeves, who plays
     Ryan McNeil on "The Young and the Restless," will sign autographs.

  At Sears at Florence Mall, 3000 Mall Rd., Florence, Ky. 859-525-4400
  -- On Sat., Sept. 9, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. -- the Maytag Repairman
     will sign autographs.
  -- On Sat., Sept. 16 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. -- David Fumero, who plays
     Christian Vega on "One Life to Live," will sign autographs.

During the two-week grand-reopening celebration, there will be demonstrations of Kenmore and GE appliances; Craftsman tools; Calphalon, Circulon and T-Fal cookware; BoseĀ® home theaters; Compaq computers; Sony Digital Imaging; Mitsubishi HDTV and other products. At various times and stores, there will be visits by Franklin the Turtle; the KidCare photo-ID program; a Sears fashion show; "Reach for the Stars," a child-model search; and more. Details about all of the special events are available at 1-800-840-4086.

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

SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Contact: Carol Simantz of Catalyst Marketing for Sears, 847-692-6311; or
Peggy Palter of Sears, 847-286-8361


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