Sears to Launch New Off-Mall Stores

Sears, Roebuck & Co. (S) Tuesday announced the launch of its new off-mall store format, which the retailer hopes will position it for steady sales growth ahead as it integrates its operations with those of Kmart Holdings Corp. (KMRT).

The new mid-sized store format is called Sears Essentials (search), and features Sears' products focusing on home and family life, such as appliances, lawn and garden, tools, electronics, apparel and even some food items.

The company plans to open the first 25 Sears Essentials stores this spring. The locations being re-branded as Sears Essentials will remain open during the remodeling process.

Sears has tested the waters outside the mall with its Sears Grand stores -- big-box stand-alone stores that offer a wider variety of goods. The out-of-the-mall stores are designed to compete with discount retailers such as Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Sears is being acquired by Kmart in a deal the two retailers announced late last year.

Shares of Sears rose 37 cents to $52.47 on the New York Stock Exchange (search).