Sears Canada Inc
TSX : SCC

Sears Canada Inc

March 17, 2005 10:39 ET

Sears Canada's First Free-Standing Off-Mall Department Store

Sears leads the way in department store development within Power Centres Attention: Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, Lifestyle Editor, News Editor CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI--(CCNMatthews - March 17, 2005) - EDITORS' NOTE: Picture to accompany this release is available on the CP Picture Service from The Canadian Press.

Sears Canada Inc. (TSX: SCC) today officially opened the doors to its first department store in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and its first free-standing department store in Canada outside of a traditional mall.

Charlottetown is home to a 108,000 square-foot Sears department store that anchors the newest regional big box Power Centre under development in Atlantic Canada, the Royalty Power Centre, located at Provincial Highway #2 and the Trans Canada Highway.

"Shoppers are in for a new kind of shopping experience at the brand new Sears Charlottetown store" said Brent Hollister, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sears Canada. "They will find everything from family and home fashions to major appliances and power tools, all housed within a unique shopping environment with over 120 new associates committed to providing exceptional customer service."

"This is a really exciting day for us," commented Hollister, who was joined by Premier Patrick Binns, Mayor Clifford Lee, store associates and Sears retirees at the opening ceremony. "For more than 50 years we have had a significant presence in Prince Edward Island with our Dealer stores and catalogue agents supported by our many loyal customers. And today, we not only opened the doors of our first department store in Charlottetown offering shoppers another great way to shop, we also opened the doors to our first free-standing off-mall store in the country, leading the way to bringing our traditional department store offering closer to residential neighbourhoods not served by traditional shopping malls."

This new store is a prime example of a new Sears poised to offer its customers a store design that makes shopping more enjoyable yet is flexible enough to position Sears to grow successfully within an evolving retail landscape. The store merchandise selection and services are adapted to the needs of the community it serves and is complemented by Sears HomeCental repair and installation services. The Company has the largest home delivery operation in Canada, with close to a million deliveries a year. It has also developed a substantial product repair service dispatching 1.5 million service calls a year.

Island residents will find an impressive selection of merchandise including a number of categories in which Sears has a strong market position including men's and women's wear, bed and bath, major appliances and outdoor power equipment. Sears national and private brands play a significant role in differentiating Sears from other retailers. Many of the national brands including Columbia™, Calvin Klein™, Point Zero™, Joe Boxer™ as well as Weir Golf, Nygard, and Martha Stewart Everyday™ which are exclusive to Sears. The company's private labels which include Jessica™ - one of Canada's leading brands for women's casual and career apparel - Craftsman™ (power tools, accessories and lawn and garden equipment), Whole Home™ (home fashions & accessories), and Kenmore™ the best selling brand of major appliances in the country, reflect the quality and trust of the Sears banner.

Developed out of extensive consumer research to meet the needs of today's shopper, the design of the new Sears Charlottetown store offers clear sightlines, reduced clutter and an easy-to-shop interior with wide aisles and bright colour-coded departments that allow customers to navigate the store more quickly and easily. Customer service centres have also been placed in highly visible locations and situated next to fitting rooms to allow sales associates to better serve customers. In addition, associates in the new store will use hand-held technology to quickly check sizes and available stock on merchandise and even speed customers through the cash lines.

"Our objective with the new prototype design concept is to accommodate the needs of our customer and improve the Sears customer shopping experience," said Hollister. "Our new and renovated stores constitute not merely a new look, but a new Sears built on the solid foundation of our unique strengths - exceptional customer service, broad selection of quality merchandise, satisfaction guaranteed and trust.
The construction, human resources and outfitting of the Sears Charlottetown store represents an investment in PEI of more than $12 million.

"We have been interested in opening a department store on PEI for many years," explains Hollister. "The Royalty Power Centre in Charlottetown is an ideal location. It is in line with our current department store strategy to bring our department store product categories to a growing customer segment who shops in conveniently located Power Centres on a regular basis," he said.

Sears locating to off-mall locations in big box Power Centres is not new to the retailer. For over a decade, Sears has been off the mall with its Sears Home stores, Dealer stores, Sears Hardware, and Sears newest additions, Sears Coverings, and Sears Appliances and Mattresses stores.

Poised to become the hub for retail activity on the Island, the most populated areas within PEI are no more than 30 minutes away from the Sears Charlottetown store. However, because of its prime location, the Royalty Power Centre serves the entire Island population of more than 140,000 and is readily accessible by the more than 32,000 people in Charlottetown as well as consumers from western and eastern PEI marketplaces including Summerside, Kensington, Souris and Montague. Additionally, with summer comes an influx of tourist traffic of more than a million to the Island, most of which typically pass by the Royalty Power Centre.

The store is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. As part of the opening ceremony, a cheque for $10,000 was presented by the Sears Young Futures program to the Boys' and Girls' Clubs of Charlottetown (see release "Boys and Girls Club of Charlottetown to Expand After-School Program with $10,000 donation from Sears Young Futures").

In addition to the Sears Charlottetown store, Sears currently has 16 catalogue merchandise pick-up locations and two dealer stores on Prince Edward Island.

Sears Canada, the retailer with the most extensive multi-channel network in the country, began serving customers in 1953. The Company has 41,000 associates and, in an independent consumer survey, ranks high in customer service, trust, respect, and quality products and services. There is a Sears location within a 10-minute drive of 93% of Canadians, and Sears is dedicated to providing them with quality merchandise and exceptional service coast to coast through its 122 full-line department stores, 219 off-mall stores, 64 home improvement showrooms, over 2,200 catalogue merchandise pick-up locations, 113 Sears Travel offices and a nationwide home maintenance, repair, and installation network. The Company also publishes Canada's most extensive general merchandise catalogue and offers shopping online at www.sears.ca.
/For further information: please contact Vincent Power, Sears Canada Inc., 416-941-4422, vpower@sears.ca or Christine Hudson, Sears Canada Inc., 416-941-4423, christine.hudson@sears.ca/ IN: RETAIL

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