Sears expansion in Md. unaltered by layoff plans


Sagging profits and massive layoffs at Chicago-based Sears, Roebuck and Co. have not changed the plans of the country's largest retailer to open a new store in Eastpoint Mall and relocate and expand one in Salisbury, company spokesman Gordon Jones said yesterday.

The store in the Eastpoint Mall near Essex, which is scheduled to open in the fall in the old Hutzler's building there, will feature home appliances, electronics, floor coverings, bedding, home improvement products and services, sporting goods and an automotive center. The store, Sears' 19th in the state, will also have a photo studio and an optical shop.

A 132,300-square-foot store in the expanding Centre at Salisbury shopping mall will open in the summer and replace a smaller store at the Salisbury Mall.

Mr. Jones said Sears' cost-cutting moves in recent months will not affect the planned stores because "one is a matter of expanding our presence in the marketplace and the other is a matter of reducing costs.

"Our new stores are more efficient and profitable than our older stores and do better in the marketplace," he said.

Sears' expansions will create roughly 135 new jobs at the retailer, partially offsetting cost-cutting efforts that have slashed roughly 1,200 employees in the state from its payroll since August 1989.

Sears said last week that it will eliminate 9,000 more jobs nationwide on top of the 21,000 it announced previously.

The company said it could not give a breakdown of the impact on Maryland. Last week, Sears also announced a 37 percent drop in 1990 fourth-quarter earnings, largely because of $155.2 million in costs to restructure its work force.

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