Sears Holdings (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) has entered into a multi-year agreement with Edwin Watts Golf Shops (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.,) to establish store-within-a-store inside Sears stores. The move marks Edwin Watts’ first expansion outside of the southern U.S.
Twelve Edwin Watts golf shops are planned with the first store expected to open in May in Murray, Utah. Additional locations will open in Hicksville, N.Y., Falls Church, Va., and Friendswood, Texas, as well as Maryland, Illinois, New York, Florida and Kentucky. "This first-of-its-kind partnership with Sears is a significant development in the golf industry as it expands the access of service-oriented golf retail to all levels of golfers, while helping to drive new players to the game," says John Watson, ceo, Edwin Watts Golf Shops. "We chose to partner with Sears based on our strategic need for a mall-based retailer with a national footprint, as well as affiliations with leading brands such as Craftsman Tools and Nordic Track, which strongly align with the golfer demographic."
The specialty shops will range in size from 2700 to 3000 square feet and will feature a layout similar to the company's free-standing golf shops. They will be strategically positioned near other major Sears departments (electronics, tools, appliances, sporting goods) and staffed by Edwin Watts Golf associates.
Interactive elements will include product testing via an in-store putting green and hitting bay, game improvement clinics and expert golf club and golf ball performance fittings.
"The partnership between Sears and Edwin Watts Golf Shops offers a new channel of distribution within a retail brand that offers tremendous equity value and global recognition,” says Watson. “As the golf industry is seeking opportunities to increase participation and interest across all demographics, this retail model will allow a new audience of consumers to experience golf each time they visit their local Sears store."
Edwin Watts is owned by private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc. and operates about 70 stores throughout the U.S.