Sears Auto Center Bolsters Franchise Roster by Inking Five-Store Agreement With Virginia Powerhouse, Dominion

Dominion Auto Group Becomes Largest Sears Auto Center Franchisee

Oct 08, 2010, 10:15 ET from Sears, Roebuck and Co.

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Sears Authorized Independent Auto Centers LLC today announced an agreement with Dominion Auto Group to make the Virginia-based dealer the nation's largest Sears Auto Center franchisee with five locations.  All five of the Sears Auto Center stores are scheduled to open within two years in Richmond and throughout Central Virginia.  Sears launched the auto franchise program in October 2009, offering automobile dealers the opportunity to operate licensed Sears Auto Centers backed by the buying power, distribution network and corporate support of one of America's most iconic brands.

"We're excited to partner with Dominion for five Sears Auto Center locations, making them our largest franchisee to date," said John Gohde, Vice President, Automotive Franchise at Sears Authorized Independent Auto Centers LLC.  "The Dominion team brings a wealth of automotive knowledge and experience and reflects the excellence in customer service that is consistent with our Sears culture.  Beginning early next year, they'll be able to offer their customers convenient, well-priced automotive products and services from one of the most recognized brands in the business."

The first two Dominion stores will be located near Ft. Lee and Route 360 at Route 288.  Dominion plans to open three additional Sears Auto Center locations, approximately one every six months, beginning in the fall of 2011.

The new Sears Auto Center franchise locations will provide the same products and services for automobiles, light trucks and motorcycles that are currently available at the nearly 850 company-owned Sears Auto Centers. Those products and services include:

  • An extensive tire selection, including brands such as Michelin®, Goodyear®, BF Goodrich®,  Bridgestone® and more
  • Batteries from DieHard®, America's most preferred automotive battery
  • Maintenance and repair services for consumer and commercial fleets, including oil changes, alignments, shocks, brakes, coolant/antifreeze, air conditioning, transmissions, fuel system cleaning and more
  • Custom wheels, car care products, truck boxes, fluids, floor mats, DieHard battery chargers, DieHard portable power, XCargo® carriers and more

"This is an outstanding opportunity for us to partner with a national firm like Sears that shares our commitment to doing business the right way," noted Ted Linhart, Dominion CEO.  "Customers rely on the Sears name for auto repairs, tires, DieHard batteries and Craftsman tools.  Richmonders trust Dominion to do what we say we will and to be fair and honest in our dealings.  It's an ideal merger of similar philosophies."

The Dominion stores will operate under the Sears Auto Center name but be franchised and operated locally by Dominion.  A new division, Dominion Service Centers, LLC, has been formed by Dominion to manage the enterprise.

The new Sears Auto Center franchise model is available immediately to qualified dealers.

"We are creating an opportunity to leverage Sears Automotive's scale, business processes and brands so that dealers can build their businesses in service, parts and used vehicles," added Gohde.  "Our franchisees are great business people with years of experience in selling and servicing vehicles.  They have great facilities that need to be used to their fullest.  Together, we can provide each other a great opportunity to grow our businesses."

About Sears Authorized Independent Auto Centers LLC

Sears Authorized Independent Auto Centers LLC offers automobile dealers the opportunity to operate licensed Sears Auto Centers, bringing the Sears brand, buying power, distribution network, systems and corporate support to automotive aftermarket businesses.  Sears Auto Center franchise locations provide the same products and services for automobiles, light trucks and motorcycles that are currently available at the nearly 850 company-owned Sears Auto Centers.  Sears Authorized Independent Auto Centers LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation and an affiliate of Sears, Roebuck and Co., has its principal offices at 3333 Beverly Road, Hoffman Estates, Illinois 60179.

About Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Sears, Roebuck and Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corporation (Nasdaq: SHLD), is a leading broadline retailer providing merchandise and related services. Sears, Roebuck offers its wide range of home merchandise, apparel and automotive products and services through more than 2,300 Sears-branded and affiliated stores in the United States and Canada, which includes approximately 929 full-line and approximately 1,200 specialty stores in the U.S. Sears, Roebuck also offers a variety of merchandise and services through sears.com, landsend.com, and specialty catalogs. Sears, Roebuck offers consumers leading proprietary brands including Kenmore®, Craftsman®, DieHard and Lands' End® -- among the most trusted and preferred brands in the U.S. Sears, Roebuck is the 2010 ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner of the Year. The company is the nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 12 million service calls made annually. For more information, visit the Sears, Roebuck website at www.sears.com or the Sears Holdings Corporation website at www.searsholdings.com.

SOURCE Sears, Roebuck and Co.



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