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Sears Holdings Empowers African-American Entrepreneurs

SearsOwn a Sears Store Program Provides Opportunity to Own a Part of the Iconic Brand

Hoffman Estates, Ill. (FEB. 13, 2012) – Sears Holdings will Share the Word™ of empowerment through entrepreneurship in 2012.  The Share the Word™ platform was created to promote and honor the legacy of African-Americans by providing valuable resources and information to enhance the lives of Sears and Kmart customers.

Now in its fifth year, the program will focus on empowering African-Americans by presenting opportunities for entrepreneurs through the Own a Sears Store program.

A recent study in entrepreneurship found that African-Americans are 50 percent more likely to start a business than any other race or ethnicity[i]. And, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2011, the number of Black-owned businesses increased at triple the national rate over the past five years[ii].

“The desire and interest in owning a business is huge among African-Americans; and, in terms of sheer number, Black-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing segments of our economy,” said Alfred Edmond, Jr., senior vice president and editor-at-large of Black Enterprise Magazine.

The Own a Sears Store program presents a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to work with one of America’s most trusted and recognized brands. Sears offers extensive training and ongoing support for retail franchise concepts including Sears Appliance Showrooms, Sears Appliance & Hardware Stores and Sears Auto Centers. Each franchisee is given a business model to follow, strategic insight and creative support for marketing and competitive pricing on premier brands such as Kenmore®, DieHard®, Maytag®, Whirlpool®, Samsung®, Craftsman®, Michelin® and Goodyear®.

Statistics show that seven out of 10 African-Americans regularly access a social media account[iii]. As the role of social media in business continues to evolve, entrepreneurs can take advantage of the opportunities presented to engage customers in real-time dialogue and personally respond to questions and comments. Share the Word™ will bring the Own a Sears Store message of entrepreneurial empowerment to life through social platforms including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with engagement opportunities such as tweet-up events and sharable video content. Additionally, in-store materials and signage will provide a QR code which links to the Own a Sears Store homepage.

For more information on Sears Holdings Share the Word™ or Own a Sears Store programs visit: http://www.kmartepk.com/sharetheword and www.ownasearsstore.com.

About Sears Holdings Corporation

Sears Holdings Corporation is the nation's fourth largest broadline retailer with over 4,000 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada.  Sears Holdings is the leading home appliance retailer as well as a leader in tools, lawn and garden, consumer electronics and automotive repair and maintenance.  Sears Holdings is the 2011 ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner of the Year.  Key proprietary brands include Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, and a broad apparel offering, including such well-known labels as Lands' End, Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer, as well as the Apostrophe and Covington brands.  It also has the Country Living collection, which is offered by Sears and Kmart.  We are the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 11 million service calls made annually.  Sears Holdings Corporation operates through its subsidiaries, including Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation.  For more information, visit Sears Holdings' website at www.searsholdings.com. |Twitter: @searsholdings | |Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SHCCareers.

[i] Office of Advocacy, US Small Business Administration (December 2005), Minority Entrepreneurship

[ii] US Census Bureau, Survey of Business Owners: Black-Owned Businesses: 2007 (February 8, 2011)

[iii] The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project (April 26 – May 22, 2011)

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