SEARS WILL EXPAND SALES TO RETOOLED HISPANIC SITE

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In a move that opens its doors to Spanish-speaking consumers not only in the U.S. but internationally, Sears, Roebuck & Co. next year plans to offer Internet sales on its Hispanic Web site.

Gilbert R. Davila, VP-multicultural and consumer relationship marketing, said the next iteration of Sears' Hispanic Web site, Todo Para Ti at www.sears.com/todoparati, is aimed at tapping into the brand equity and customer base Sears left behind when it exitedf Central and South America more than 10 years ago. The Sears name remains in Mexico as part of Sears of Mexico, now 85% owned by Grupo Carso. Sears retains a 15% stake.

In addition, Mr. Davila said, numerous Latin Americans travel to the U.S. to shop at Sears and other retailers. "We are not only adding Hispanic U.S. e-commerce shoppers, but folks who get on a plane to shop here." In the U.S., Mr. Davila said, Hispanic usage of the Internet is on a par with the general marketplace. "There's a wrong perception that Hispanics are not wired to the Net."

EVERYTHING FOR YOU

Sears this fall redesigned Todo Para Ti, which translates to everything for you, adding the schedule for the 21-city concert tour of Mexican singer Juan Gabriel that Sears is sponsoring. The site also has information on the Sears-sponsored Fiesta mobile, a promotional vehicle and traveling road show.

Currently, the site has limited e-commerce capabilities, referring visitors to English-language areas of Sears' main site.

Sears long has taken a strong interest in the Hispanic market. The company seven years ago launched Nuestra Gente, a magazine with a circulation of about 800,000. It also has sponsored concert tours by artists popular among Hispanics.

Sears estimates that of its 850 full-line stores, about 160 have a significant Hispanic customer base. Overall, said Mr. Davila, Hispanic, Asian and African-American customers provide an estimated 25% of Sears' annual sales. Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans made up 24% of the U.S. population in the 1990

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