Sears debuts new store concept
Sears has opened a freestanding store concept dedicated to two of its strongest categories.
Sears debuted its first store under the Sears Appliances & Mattresses banner, in Pharr, Texas. The format expands the concept of the Sears Appliance store, which opened in Ft. Collins, Colo. in 2016. The location has surpassed projections since its opening, Sears said.
The 20,000-sq.-ft. Sears Appliances & Mattresses store features interactive displays of top home appliances brands in kitchen vignettes. It also allows visitors to experience the top mattress brands.
The space includes a full-scale kitchen that features a 122-inch interactive digital display. Using a tablet, shoppers can select common kitchen layouts and appliances and further customize the experience by choosing colors and finishes. They also can use the digital display to shop for other products on the retailer's website.
"Like our Sears Appliances store in Ft. Collins, this stand-alone location fully integrates in-store and online shopping to provide our members with the convenience of shopping with us wherever, whenever and however they choose," said Leena Munjal, senior VP, customer experience and integrated retail, Sears Holdings Corp.
The Pharr store features an array of integrated services, including free shipping on orders placed while in the store (for product not carried in the store), buy online and ship to the store as well as in-vehicle pickup. Shoppers can also go online to schedule in-store appointments with experts for assistance in purchasing appliances and mattresses.
Those familiar with Sears and its problems have wondered why a move like this, focused on its strengths, wasn't a strategy that made sense when Sears still had a decent market position. It was a topic of discussion before I left in 1978. But in its less than accurate wisdom, Sears decided it needed to sell bras & girdles along side Craftsman tools. A decision based all too often on margin percentages that never produced the anticipated margin dollars. Imagine a different Sears with a foundation of Kenmore, Craftsman, Diehard, Guardsman and supporting products. Today, inside, still arrogant and rigid.
Too little, Too late. Bye bye Sears.
Tenants fill new Publix center in North Carolina
The Southeast’s leading grocery chain will be opening a new center in the state where it has its least exposure, and leasing activity is brisk.
Broker La Purser & Associates reported the signing of four tenants at a planned Publix-anchored center in Harrisburg, North Carolina. Smoothie King, Sports Clips, Avalon Spa & Nails, and dental office have committed to the 67,200-sq.-ft. Harris Square, set to open in 2018.
The Publix store will take up 49,000 of that space, but it’s just phase one of the project. Another four acres on the site are being held for future development.
Publix, which operates more than 950 stores in Florida and Georgia, has just 24 stores in North Carolina.
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TJX Cos. bucks retail’s store closure trend
As a number of traditional chains across the industry continue to struggle, TJX Cos. is being called one of the country’s fastest growing retailers.
Traditional retailers industry-wide are blaming shifting consumer tastes, digital options and new competitors for not only stealing their wallet share, but for declining foot traffic and related sales. However, this could not be farther from the truth for TJX Cos.
The off-price giant operated more than 3,800 stores at the end of 2016, and has a long-term vision to expand its store base by approximately 50%, to 5,600 stores. TJX plans to expand its breadth solely by focusing on its current chains and markets, the company said.
However, the company credits its success to more grassroots factors. One of these includes the instincts of merchandise buyers who are picking merchandise that creates a constant treasure hunt. The company employs more than 1,000 buyers who purchase apparel and merchandise across other categories from more than 18,000 suppliers around the globe, according to the Wall Street Journal.
CEO Ernie Herrman is also taking advantage of the ongoing “disruption” in retailing, an issue that is forcing department stores to cancel orders, leaving manufacturers with too much merchandise. However, TJX is scooping up this glut of merchandise at bargain prices, according to the Wall Street Journal.
However, getting this merchandise onto the sales floor is paramount to driving sales. That’s why TJX has created an internal mantra, “door to floor in 24,” that requires merchandise arriving at stores on trucks in the morning be moved straight onto the sales floor that same evening, the report said
It is a formula that has contributed to a 1% sales increase among stores open for one year for the first quarter ended April 29.
Net sales for the first quarter increased 3% to $7.8 billion. While this was a decline from a 7% increase a year earlier, Herrman is not concerned. Rather, he is keeping his eye on the prize, and steadily bolstering his store fleet — and outfitting stores with recently acquired merchandise.
During the first quarter, the retailer increased its store count by 50 stores to a total of 3,862 stores in nine countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Austria, the Netherlands, and Australia. These include 1,191 T.J. Maxx, 1,039 Marshalls, 596 HomeGoods and 12 Sierra Trading Post stores in the United States; 258 Winners, 109 HomeSense, and 61 Marshalls stores in Canada; 515 T.K. Maxx and 46 HomeSense stores in Europe; and 35 T.K. Maxx stores in Australia.
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