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    Sears To Sell Food in New Format

    HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - Sears Grand, a new freestanding supercenter-type format being tested by Sears, Roebuck and Co., will sell convenience groceries, including milk, frozen pizza, canned goods, pet food and laundry detergent, along with items found in a conventional Sears department store.

    HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - Sears is getting into the grocery business.

    Sears Grand, a new freestanding supercenter-type format being tested by Sears, Roebuck and Co. here, will sell convenience groceries, including milk, frozen pizza, canned goods, pet food and laundry detergent, along with the power tools, major appliances, clothing, lawn mowers, paint, shoes, and other items found in a conventional Sears department store.

    "We do offer food," Cory Rutt, a Sears spokeswoman, told Progressive Grocer. "While we don't carry produce and fresh meat, or have a deli, we do carry the basics that a busy family might need to pick up on the way home from work or after picking their kids up after school."

    The first Sears Grand is in the Salt Lake City suburb of West Jordan, Utah, and will have its grand opening on Oct. 11, although it is currently operating under a soft opening. Other stores are scheduled to open next year in Gurnee Mills, Ill., outside of Chicago; Las Vegas; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., outside of Los Angeles; and an undetermined fifth location.

    In West Jordan, groceries are merchandised toward the front of the 210,000-square-foot, one-level store, which has two main entrances. The store is divided into different sectors. Food is in the sector geared to women, on the same side of the store with women's and children's clothing. "The food is very close to some of the beauty products that we have, like basic makeup that you can pick up in a grocery store," Rutt said.

    "We're building this store 'from the customer up' and providing those everyday solutions she's told us she needs as part of her busy life," said Jerry Post, senior v.p. for growth strategy at Sears. "Everything about this new store -- the location, the layout, the merchandise, and services -- has been designed from the customers' point of view."

    Sears Grand also has areas geared to men where paint, Craftsman Tools, and pool tables are sold, along with a family entertainment section in the back of the store that merchandises TVs, DVDs, CDs and video games.

    "We will have these five Sears Grand pilot stores, and from the learnings that we get we're going to build a prototype," Rutt said.

    -- Richard Turcsik

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