The proliferation of the Sears Appliance & Hardware brand had been largely at a standstill for the past decade. That’s how long it had been since a new location had been built.
Before: Standing at 22,000 sq. ft. to 25,000 sq. ft., the standard SAH model was stuck in no man’s land in terms of the neighborhood hardware store/big-box binary. “Today’s retail landscape is comprised of mostly big boxes or more intimate neighborhood store experiences. There aren’t many players in the middle still in business,” said David Buckley, CMO of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, which split from Sears Holdings about one year ago. Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores decided to roll out a smaller-format store prototype, beginning with the construction of a new location in Dallas.
At 16,000 sq. ft. to 18,000 sq. ft., the new model manages to be considerably smaller without losing any of its essential content.
After: The Dallas store is still hot out of the oven, but it’s already doing what well-performing mom-and-pops do best, which is live by the mantra of “less is more.” The new stores place a higher premium on showcasing bestsellers through a consultative sales process, while making items that are unavailable in the store easily ordered and delivered to the customer.
“You don’t have to have everything on the sales floor, but in the case of hardware stores, you need [project necessities] on-hand,” Buckley said. “We’re able to offer a convenient and relevant hardware assortment, as well as an experience that’s differentiated from most hardware stores: one that’s more convenient and more centered around the customer.”
Similar stores are cropping up in Big Rapids, Mich., and Cedar City, Utah.