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Friday, July 23, 2010

Sears Outlet 100th Store

Sears Outlets

In random news, lawsuits have been filed against the chain 99 Cents Only stores, "alleging that the chain's move two years ago to raise its top price to 99.99 cents constituted an unfair and deceptive business practice". Pretty funny...

Anyway, moving on to our main story, the 100th Sears Outlet store has opened. There are (supposedly, according to SHLD) around 300 more of the small-format stores (such as Sears Outlets, Sears Hometown Stores franchises, Sears Hardware, Sears Home Appliance Showrooms, Lands End, The Great Indoors) than the traditional mall-based main Sears stores, which have already dipped below 1,000 in number in the good ol' USA. Not sure if these numbers include things like Sears Auto Center or Sears Optical stores that are basically part of a main Sears, but in general information about the various aspects of Sears family like their commercial or home repair/parts services is kind of vague. It's promising that Sears has an arsenal of smaller formats to try to compete in various niches (and bold online attempts), but also unclear the degree these will succeed, if they actually do.

Press Release Excerpt: For more than 40 years Sears Outlets have been providing customers with unparalleled value and savings on some of the best brands in appliances, home electronics and more.  Today, Sears Holdings Outlet store organization announced the opening of its 100th store at 1321 East Golf Rd. in Schaumburg, Ill., in the former The Great Indoors location.
The outlet will feature some of the best names in appliances, tools, fitness equipment, mattress sets, lawn & garden, and more at discounts of up to 60% off.  The Schaumburg outlet will also carry Sears apparel at 60-80% off the retail price.

"Sears is the leading retailer for washers, dryers and refrigerators in the country," said Jaime Brooks, vice president and president, Sears Outlet. "Our stores provide a great format for shoppers to buy nationally recognized brands that help improve home and family life at significantly reduced prices while still receiving the customer service, access to the same warranties and credit solutions offered at Sears' full-line stores."
Sears Outlet will also be opening additional locations in Concord, NC and Norfolk, VA throughout the remainder of 2010. 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Katella - Anaheim, CA Big Kmart

Anaheim California Kmart
10870 Katella Ave West
Anaheim, CA 92804
(Katella Ave at Euclid St, aka Disneyland Kmart?)

This California Big Kmart is less than a mile from the Anaheim Convention Center and Disneyland, a short couple minutes drive or 10 minute walk down Katella Ave or quick OCTA bus ride down Katella Ave away from the magic of the mouse! A nice Californian roof adds to the style of this store, which features a Garden Center, Sears Appliance center, Layaway, and other departments typically found in Big Kmarts, except a pharmacy. (There's still the drugstore section with health products like aspirin and toothpaste, of course. More on a future post about online/hybrid shopping experiences like Kmart's MyGofer and rivals ranging from Rite Aid to Amazon to!) This is the first Kmart featured on our SuperKmart blog to have a Sears appliance center inside the store- though there's basically no mention or signage of Sears, so officially (and pricing wise?) it's probably a Kmart appliance center, not sure. Overall, fairly typical of a Kmart - well stocked (except for the food section), improved in being decently clean and tidy, but still obviously not newly remodeled or as trendy as some of the nicer Target stores.

View of the shopping center:
Euclid St sign:

Katella Ave sign:

Main storefront:

Pretty standar main entrance:

The "Thank you for shopping Kmart" does not seem to have been changed to "Big K", and the orange-y color is, IMO, nicer than plain white that most stores have.

Security camera TV welcomes your arrival. The main foyer is rather large and empty, with some appliances celebrating the Kmart (aka Sears) majap (major appliance center).

Cash registers were numbered 1 and 3-7, with 1 (and 2) being the customer service desk. Only one was open on a weekday morning.

This store had relatively nice carts, including the kiddie carts here - are those TV screens in them?

A look from the left side of the store at the main entrance. Again, note the old-style huge round air conditioning vents and harsh parallel fluorescent lighting - the newer Target and Wal-Mart stores have improved lighting patterns that make a more appealing experience.

The (somewhat crowded to navigate) checkout area

Spanish subtitles, a great idea! The pantry/food section was still disappointing, as it is in almost all Kmarts... some of the few perishables were expired.

There is no pharmacy, but drugstore & health & beauty section still available.

A spinning sign with outdoor furniture selections. I'm not sure how one actually buys the product, but presumably it sells since it takes a pretty decent amount of floor space inside the store near the entrance to the Garden Center.

The segregated Garden Center had both the "indoor" and the semi-covered "outdoor" areas with plants:

The indoor section of the Garden Center:

Layaway is hidden behind home improvement/tools in the far left corner by the Garden Center. Not sure if signage was decent enough for people to find it easily. Note the Craftsman tools, in an earlier blog post we reported that Craftsman is going to be sold at ACE Hardware stores... not sure how that will impact Sears store sales. The biggest losers are probably the Sears Hometown (small rural store) franchisee owners.

Electronics! The digital camera setup was very good for a Kmart.

Something new: The Kmart appliance center! Again, not sure how one would actually buy one, since there weren't any salespeople at this time in the morning, so they should install a "push button for assistance" or some other way of getting help.

stoves, ovens, washers, dryers, oh my!

The softlines - clothing, jewelry - are on the right side of the store.

The exterior of the store and the shopping plaza and parking lot were well maintained! The banner describes the "SmartAssist" program offering discounts on generic branded items for the unemployed, although the actual details on the program are sparse and hard to find updated information online. Again, pseudo-creative idea, mediocre execution, so typical of Kmart.

And that's all folks! Well, we'll leave you with one last sign shot. Next time, we'll head back to the South or East coast... or maybe explore more of the retail landscape...


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