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Home Appliances Next Focus at Sears

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CHICAGO Sears Roebuck and Co.'s new marketing debuting in the next several weeks will focus on home appliances, Sears' top executive said today.

Sears is attempting to have more balance in its marketing efforts, said Alan Lacy, Sears' chairman and chief executive officer, in a speech to investors during the Merrill Lynch 26th annual Global Retailing Leaders' Conference. "We are more effectively using our marketing dollars to drive people into our stores," Lacy said.

Last week the Hoffman Estates, Ill., retailer debuted new advertising promoting Sears' spring clothing line from Young & Rubicam, Chicago, that did not use the "Sears. Where else?" tagline. Sears' other roster shop, Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, typically handles the company's hard-line goods. It was not known if the upcoming advertising would be from Ogilvy.

Lacy repeatedly emphasized the importance of bridging its soft- and hard-line goods and the importance of the company's acquisition of Lands' End last year. "Lands' End is kind of the key rallying cry to have people sort of re-engage with our store," Lacy said.

Lacy's comments come one week after a meeting with board members, where Sears' new chief marketing officer, Janine Bousquette, introduced Y&R ads for the new spring line and the first "evolution" in changing the retailer's advertising, sources said.