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    Sears Essentials to Turn Grand

    HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Sears Holdings Corp. here is retooling and renaming its midsize Sears Essentials stores to become more like its larger Sears Grand format.

    HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Sears Holdings Corp. here is retooling and renaming its midsize Sears Essentials stores to become more like its larger Sears Grand format.

    The company said it is making the shift because the differences between the two formats have become increasingly marginal. Spokesman Chris Brathwaite told Dow Jones Newswires the reformulated stores will have "a number of exciting improvements to the off-mall format."

    The Sears Essentials format was launched a year ago, around the same time Kmart acquired Sears, Roebuck & Co. for $12.3 billion. Since that time approximately 50 Kmart stores have been converted to the Sears Essentials format, which leverages the best of Sears along with convenience-inspired goods such as pantry items, health and beauty supplies, pet food, and toys, plus pharmacy and other services.

    Brathwaite said stores currently carrying the Sears Essentials name will be further upgraded, and 14 more Kmart stores will be upgraded to the same format by May. The name change will take effect shortly thereafter.

    The Sears Grand stores range in size from 106,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet. By comparison, the Sears Essentials format covers 80,500 square feet to 130,000 square feet. At one time, Sears Holdings Corp. had said it would turn 400 Kmart stores into Sears Essentials and would use that format as one of two growth vehicles.

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