TORONTO, July 11, 2013 /CNW/ - Sears Canada Inc. (TSX: SCC) announced today an agreement with Reitmans ( Canada) Limited (TSX: RET) for the addition of the market leading plus size Penningtons brand to Sears. The introduction of the popular and fashionable Penningtons apparel into Sears stores is an innovative, customer-centric approach for the Canadian retail industry responding to an underserviced market segment. Sears will be the only Canadian store to offer Penningtons apparel outside of Penningtons own stores. Initially Penningtons will be available in five Sears pilot stores as well as on sears.ca. Penningtons apparel is expected to be introduced in additional Sears locations, and in the Spring general catalogue, in 2014. One of Sears transformational pillars for growth has been focused on building the core, protecting and growing market share in categories where Sears unrivalled blend of authoritative assortment, unique services and exclusive brands build consideration for Sears among Canadians. The Company has identified the women's plus-size category as a key business and aims to create shops of approximately 4,000 square feet to establish a meaningful and relevant destination for women coast to coast. A substantial portion of this space will be devoted to Penningtons merchandise in the five pilot stores. "We're excited to bring Penningtons to Sears because it supports our strategy of working with successful brands that provide immediate credibility and continuity to our apparel offerings," said Calvin McDonald, President and CEO, Sears Canada. "There is a real opportunity for Sears to take a leadership role in serving the plus-size demographic, a segment that has traditionally been underserved. Penningtons caters to a fashion-focused customer, which complements the traditional offering currently available at Sears." Penningtons is known for offering a wide range of affordable and on-trend fashions starting at Size 14. They are a leader in providing fashionable women's apparel, including blouses, sweaters, t-shirts, tops and bottoms. Sears is re-establishing its plus-size shop in stores across Canada to create more meaningful and consistent merchandise presentations, addressing the needs of both the traditional and trend-right style profiles. "We are delighted with our new association with Sears Canada," said Jeremy Reitman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Reitmans ( Canada) Limited. "The Penningtons brand and the Sears brand are both well-established and highly respected names in the Canadian marketplace and this combination is another effective way for Penningtons to market its apparel to Canadian women in a trusted and attractive retail environment." Improving the Balance of Sale "Increasing our offering in apparel allows us to substantially reduce, or move completely to Direct, categories that have space in our stores but that are not productive year-round," continued Mr. McDonald. "We need to move our store balance of sale to products that are less susceptible to downturns in the economy and weather effects, thereby providing more predictable revenues. We will continue to explore opportunities that allow us to move in this direction."