Sears Hometown store fills retail void in Lexington

agarau@herald-leader.comJuly 1, 2014 

When Sears closed its Fayette Mall store in January, it was the first time the company was not in Lexington since the 1930s. Last month, a Sears Hometown and Outlet Store opened in Tates Creek South Plaza, returning the retailer to the city.

Carl Day, who owns and operates the store at 4228 Saron Drive, said Lexingtonians seem delighted to have Sears back in town.

"We have a lot of very loyal customers," Day said. "From what I can tell, everybody's tickled to death that we're here again."

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores is a spin-off of the Sears Holdings Corp. Its stores are smaller and don't have as varied a merchandise selection as Sears' department stores. The Hometown stores sell appliances, tools, electronics and gardening equipment. Outlet stores sell new and used, discontinued, overstocked, and scratched and dented products.

"Most people are curious because they don't know much about what Hometown Stores are," Days said. "We're basically Sears. Even though we're a smaller store, we can pretty much get anything a customer might want from Sears. People are surprised by how many appliances we have in the store."

The store opened June 10, but Day said its grand opening won't be until mid-August. The event will feature special promotional deals to draw customers and spread the word about the new store.

The Fayette Mall Sears closed in the wake of financial trouble the Sears corporation has seen nationally. In its most recent quarter, Sears Holdings reported a net loss of $402 million and a 6.8 percent decline in revenue.

The Hometown and Outlet spin-off, which is a separate company, has done somewhat better, but it saw a 6.2 percent decline in same-store sales and a 2 percent drop in revenue in its most recent quarter.

These numbers don't seem to scare Day.

"I own another Hometown store in Danville, and I've been there for 19 years," he said. "It's been a very good program for us, and it's been good for Sears. I think the demand is high enough in Lexington that we'll have the same success here."

Annie Garau: (859) 231-1685. Twitter: @agarau6.

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