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Sears plans to close more stores

BY HBSDEALER Staff

There are more store closings in Sears’ future. In an address at Sears Holding Corp.’s annual shareholders meeting, chairman and CEO Edward Lampert said the company would close stores and look for ways to leverage its real estate as it continues to focus on integrated omnichannel retail and its Shop Your Way rewards program.

"Closing stores is going to be part of our future," Lampert said. "I’d rather do (fewer closures) rather than more, but the world has shifted."

He did not give an estimate on how many stores Sears would close. But with regards to marginally performing stores, Lampert said "the decision more often than not is to not renew the lease."

"We think you don’t need 2,000 stores to be relevant in the United States," he said.

Lampert said that rental income from subleasing store space in Sears stores to other retailers is likely to increase going forward.  Sears has closed about 300 stores since 2010, and has spun off its Orchard Supply Hardware, Sears Hometown and Lands’ End businesses. The company currently operates approximately 778 full-line namesake stores and 1,152 Kmart stores in the United States.

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Day two of NHS salutes the Homeland

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Las Vegas — Day two of the National Hardware Show continued with a decidedly more patriotic bent than Tuesday’s globally minded theme, with an All-American Awards ceremony and a first-ever dedicated section on the show floor to Made-in-USA products, where over 125 companies were represented.

The NRHA Stage was also the site of several presentations regarding the current home buyer climate in the United States.

(From around the National Hardware Show floor, click here for new product highlights.)

Following the Made-in-the USA Grand-Opening Ceremony with special guest John Ratzenberger, a panel of various home buyers discussed their preferences and experiences. The skinny? An increasing amount of single female home buyers are subtly changing the retail landscape.

In the keynote address (dubbed "Millennial Homebuying Preferences"), Jill Waage, editorial director for home content of Better Homes and Gardens, clued retailers in to the needs of the millennial home buyer. Technology, to no one’s surprise, is a key component to reaching this younger audience.

The NRHA also presented the Industry Top Gun Awards, which recognize retailers with an especially strong commitment to innovation and the industry in general. This year’s winners included Brent Burger of Campbell’s True Value, Joe Taylor of Taylor’s Do it Centers and Michael Wynn of Sunshine Ace Hardware.

Drew and Jonathan Scott, known best as The Property Brothers, drew a large crowd with their appearance at the stage in a seminar titled "Keeping Your Home on Trend and Money in Your Pocket." Many show attendees lined up for a chance to get their pictures taken with the tall HGTV celebs, who were also promoting their new Scott Living home furnishings and accessories collection.

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Scotts Miracle-Gro expands licensing program

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Scotts Miracle-Gro, together with Seltzer Licensing Group, the company’s exclusive licensing agency, has announced two new licensing partners and several new products. 

With the addition of the TTI Group (outdoor power tools) and West Chester Protective Gear (lawn and garden gloves), the Scotts Miracle-Gro licensing program has now grown to include nine strategic partners, including Acme United Corporation (cutting tools), American Lawn Mower Company (reel lawn mowers), Bond Manufacturing (plant support accessories), Greenscapes (lawn fabric), Peachtree Playthings (children’s garden kits), Radius Garden (ergonomic hand tools) and Swan Products (hoses and nozzles). 

"Our focus will continue to be to create easier and more enjoyable lawn and garden experiences for consumers and we are proud to partner with these great companies to offer innovative products that do just that," said Glenn Neilson, director of marketing for Scotts Miracle-Gro.

Some of the highlights include:

Scotts and Miracle-Gro branded garden tools from Acme United, which feature corrosion-resistant titanium-bonded stainless steel. The Scotts tools integrate antimicrobial technology to help prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus on the handles and cutting blades and feature patented "Tool-Less Blade Change" technology, allowing the user to change from a bypass blade to an anvil blade to a snip in seconds. The Miracle-Gro products and packaging are made entirely from recycled materials. The tools will launch this May at retailers across the country. 

Swan Products introduces the Scotts MaxFLEX hose with proprietary "Lay-Flat Technology," which uses a special co-polymer to make it kink resistant and provides scuff resistance. Its oversized super duty crush proof couplings are lead-free aluminum and include a patented Hose Armor that prevents the hose from binding at the spigot when pulled. Swan introduces the new Miracle-Gro SoakerSystem, a soaking system that is customizable with its EZ Connectors made for the gardener/landscaper. 

Also launching this May is a lineup of Scotts cordless outdoor power tools from TTI. The Scotts Sync System includes a string trimmer, hedge trimmer, chain saw and blower.

"We continue to explore new licensing opportunities and push current licensees to innovate, in an effort to bring consumers lawn and garden solutions that help them achieve the beautiful lawns and gardens that have become synonymous with Scotts and Miracle-Gro," added Stu Seltzer, president of Seltzer Licensing Group.

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