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Sears expands with new space, new merchandise

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by Karen E. Culp

SBJ Staff

A bigger Sears store will soon be in place at the Battlefield Mall, according to the store's general manager, John Hendrickson.

The store will add a net of 45,000 square feet to its selling floor by January. The first phase of that expansion will be an addition of 40,000 square feet, which will be completed by Nov. 1. The store will then remodel some of its existing stock space to create another 5,000 square feet of selling floor.

The new addition will expand the store's hard lines merchandise area. Hard lines includes hardware, appliances, carpet, lawn and garden, and related items. The space dedicated to hard lines will be 40 percent larger following the expansion.

"This expansion is basically getting us to the proper space allocation. We've been severely underspaced for some time now," Hendrickson said.

In January of 1999, the store will begin to expand all other areas of the store. It will create more room for its licensed businesses its optical lab and portrait studio and will add a new licensed business, a hearing aid center. The store will also add Sears' fragrance and cosmetics line and will have a full-line cosmetics counter.

With the expansion, the store will have 120,000 square feet of sales space, Hendrickson said. The store will have one completely new entrance, but all of its entrances will be re-worked for the "new Sears entrance look," Hendrickson said. The entire remodel and renovation should be complete by June of 1999.

Sears has been in the Battlefield Mall since 1982, when it moved from the downtown area. The former Sears store is now the University Plaza Trade Center. Despite numerous shake-outs of competitors and a constantly changing retail market, Hendrickson said he is sure there's a place in the market for Sears.

"We all have to do a better job of serving the customer. These days you can find the product you are looking for at any one of 15 stores, but the difference is in how those stores take care of the customer," Hendrick-son said.

The general contractor for the expansion is Maxwell Construction, a Colorado-based construction company. Architects for the expansion were Sears' company architects.

The store's inside look will change significantly, with wider aisles and improved lighting, Hendrickson said.

"It all goes back to customer service. Now we'll be able to give a neat presentation that the customers will enjoy and that will make their experience that much better while they're in our store," Hendrickson said.

The Battlefield Mall store is one of the largest in Sears' Kansas City region, which includes about 17 stores in western Missouri and Kansas.

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