Sears to Cut 800 Management Jobs in Reorganization of Merchandising

Article excerpt

CHICAGO (AP) - Sears, Roebuck and 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 some 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 commmand.

The goal is creation of six crisp new 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.

``I think what is necessary for Sears to be competitive ... given the change in pricing structure ...is to reduce cost of the operation and this a step in that direction,'' said analyst Joseph Ronning with Brown Brothers Harriman Inc. in New York.

``Each of these businesses in Sears stores will report directly to a district manager for that distinct business, who will be accountable for customer service, sales and profits in 10 stores and report to a region manager for that business,'' said Michael Bozic, chairman and chief executive officer of Sears Merchandise Group. …

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