ICS Magazine

Sears exiting carpet business, cutting 1,500 jobs, open new stores

January 8, 2002
As it announces it will open 15 new full-line stores, Sears, Roebuck & Co. said it would eliminate 1,500 jobs and quit selling carpet next month.

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Even as it announces it will open 15 new full-line stores, Sears, Roebuck & Co. (NYSE:S) announced it would eliminate 1,500 jobs and quit selling carpet next month as the No. 4 U.S. retailer makes room for top- selling products such as appliances and electronics.

According to company spokesperson Peggy Salter, Sears expects to take an unspecified charge for the moves in the fourth quarter, for which it plans to release results Jan. 17. Some carpet workers may be moved to other departments. Sears sells carpet in 560 stores and employs about 275,000 people, Salter said.

The job cuts add to 4,900 positions that Chief Executive Alan Lacy has said he would trim while transforming Sears stores to look more like those of Target Corp. and Kohl's Corp. Lacy, who aims to double profit at the retail, product-installation and repair businesses in three years, is adding central checkout and self- service areas to make stores more attractive to shoppers.

As Sears prepares to open the new stores, the retail giant said it also would remodel 50 more stores nationwide by the end of the year. The actions are the first wave in a four-year remodeling program in which 600 of Sears' largest stores will be revamped to offer a more convenient shopping experience for its customers while improving the stores' operating efficiency, Sears said.

The floor space for the carpet business will be used for other home-related products. The items that are being eliminated also include custom-made window blinds and drapes. Sears will continue selling ready-made window decorations and decorator rugs.