HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears, Roebuck & Co. said it has launched three new specialty catalogs through a joint licensing venture with Hanover Direct Inc.

The catalogs are After 5, featuring women’s evening apparel in sizes 14 and larger; Great Kitchens, with kitchen accessories and tabletop appliances, and Show Place, offering bed and bath accessories.

As reported, Hanover Direct, based in Weehawken, N.J., will become the Sears licensee for all three catalogs. Hanover Direct, formerly Horn & Hardart Co., publishes Gump’s upscale gift catalog and Tweeds women’s fashion catalog, among others.

Sears also received an option to buy up to 7 million shares of Hanover Direct in 1999 for $10.57 each, provided certain sales and earnings targets are met. The shares represent 10 percent of Hanover Direct’s outstanding shares.

In addition, Sears has extended tests of six other specialty catalogs introduced in 1993 that include women’s large sizes, leather apparel, men’s workwear, and licensed National Football League and National Basketball Association apparel.

Sears discontinued most of its catalog operations, including its Big Book, in 1992. The only two proprietary catalogs left are Power & Hand Tools and Home Health Care.

Vachel Pennebaker, head of Sears Shop at Home Services, said the new licensing approach “creates exceptional efficiencies,” using Hanover Direct’s existing buying staff, computer systems, warehousing and fulfillment operations.