NEW YORK — In a move that signals there may be hope for the scaled-back Great Indoors retail concept, Sears Holdings Corp. on Wednesday said it had promoted Teresa Byrd to senior vice president and general manager of the chain.
She replaces Catherine David, who resigned last month as senior vice president and gmm of Sears Grand, Sears Essentials and Great Indoors. Julie Younglove-Webb took over responsibility for Sears Essentials and Sears Grand last week.
Byrd will oversee store operations, merchandising and marketing for Great Indoors and report directly to William C. Crowley, executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer of Sears Holdings.
The Great Indoors, a high-end interior design and home-improvement store selling everything from Viking refrigerators to Sears bath towels, opened its first unit in 1997. By 1999, when the second Great Indoors opened, Sears announced it would roll out 150 units as soon as possible.
But the retailer had trouble getting financial returns from The Great Indoors and was put off by the cost of building the expensive stores. There are about 17 units in the chain.
Byrd was regional vice president in Sears’ full-line stores organization and most recently senior vice president and general merchandise manager for Sears Essentials and Sears Grand.
“Teresa’s leadership skills, merchandising knowledge and store operations experience are vital assets for driving the future success of The Great Indoors,” Crowley said in a statement.
Bill Dreher, a retail analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities, said Byrd’s appointment may be a possible first step in reaccelerating the rollout of The Great Indoors.
“They’re putting in somebody who’s worked in two of their other successful concepts,” he said. “Sears Essentials appears to be the prototype that they’re aggressively rolling out across the store base. She’s been a leader in what is a key strategy for them. Maybe they’re revisiting The Great Indoors concept to see if they can make it work.”
Sears Grand combines traditional Sears products, like tools and appliances, with convenience items such as milk and snack foods, while Sears Essentials combines Sears and Kmart brands in remodeled Kmart stores.