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Sears Revamps Merchandising, to Cut 800 Jobs

From Associated Press

Sears, Roebuck & Co. on Thursday announced the latest move in a campaign to slim down and tighten up--a reorganization of its central merchandising operation that will cut 800 management jobs.

The changes in the Sears Merchandise Group, which will close 24 regional administrative offices, are the latest in a series as the nation’s largest retailer tries to hold its own in a fast-moving, highly competitive market.

Since October, Chicago-based Sears has put its trademark Sears Tower, the world’s tallest building, up for sale; moved to offer more brand-name products, and shifted to everyday low pricing.

Thursday’s announcement calls for streamlining the merchandise group, which is structured “horizontally” with an ever-widening chain of command.

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The goal is the creation of six crisp operations, with direct reporting and accountability from the retail store to the group vice president--in appliances-electronics, home fashions, home improvement, women’s apparel, men’s-children’s apparel and automotive, the company said.

The merchandise group’s restructuring, effective Aug. 1, will eliminate numerous field offices, including the 24 regional administrative offices that oversee Sears’ 824 stores under the current system. One of those administrative offices is in Santa Fe Springs, which has 80 employees. However, offices in Santa Fe Springs and nine other regional locations will be retained to provide support to retail store operations.

The new field operation will operate with about 800 fewer management positions than the current system, which has 7,700 such jobs, the company said.


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