Sears Hometown and Outlet refreshes retail strategy, store format

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores (NASDAQ:SHOS) has announced plans to evolve its appliance retail strategy to meet changing customer needs. The revamp will begin with updates to Sears Hometown store formats.

Beginning immediately, the two-phase initiative will affect 51 Sears Hometown Stores across the country, culminating in grand reopening celebrations at the end of April. The shakeup touches on product assortment, redesigned merchandising, new fixtures and signage, and training for floor associates.

"With improved selling floors and enhanced technologies, our customers will have a shopping experience unmatched by any of our competitors," said the company's CEO and president, Bruce Johnson.

As part of the store's redesign, appliances will occupy more than half of the sales floor and include more brands. The stores will also focus appliances on innovation. The retailer is hoping that the revamp will boost revenue, because sales have declined since the company was sold off by Sears Holdings (NYSE:SHLD) two years ago.

The floor plan will showcase complete kitchen packages, including four-pieces from multiple brands within a small amount of floor space.

"This wasn't just a change in how the store is laid out," said Will Powell, COO. "We started more fundamentally by considering the needs of our customers, what we want to stand for and what it means to be America's Appliance Experts.

"We rethought the buying process from end to end and created a very unique and positive experience for our customers. America's Appliance Experts incorporates all aspects of the customer experience, taking into account everything from comprehensive training on our brands to in-store display and the use of technology in the sales process."

Customers can also access touch-screen kiosks to explore produce options or make purchases with or without the help of a store employee.

Last month the retailer, along with partner Yext, was awarded a Customer Engagement Reward by RetailTouchPoints for its online review program.

For more:
-See this Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores press release

Related stories:
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores wins customer engagement reward for online review
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores let shoppers 'Netotiate' prices
Sears Outlet store sales up 9%, while Hometown stores drop 6%
Sears continues downward spiral, closing 80 more stores

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