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April 22 (Bloomberg) -- Sears Holdings Corp., the largest U.S. department-store company, plans to open 12 Edwin Watts golf shops within its stores to add to its sporting-goods business.

The first Edwin Watts Golf Shop will open at Sears’s store in Murray, Utah, on May 31, the two companies said in an e-mailed statement today. That will be followed by openings in New York, Virginia, Maryland, Texas, Illinois, Florida and Kentucky.

Sales at stores open at least a year have declined each year since Chairman Edward Lampert combined the Sears and Kmart chains in 2005. Sears, the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based seller of Craftsman power tools and NordicTrack treadmills, suffered during the economic slump as consumers spent less on their homes.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met a golfer who doesn’t own some Craftsman tools,” Edwin Watts Chief Executive Officer John Watson said in a telephone interview. “We think there’s a real synergy between the brands.”

Sears rose $4.54, or 4.2 percent, to $112.89 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market composite trading. The shares have gained is 35 percent this year.

This marks Edwin Watts’s first expansion outside of the southern U.S., the CEO said. He declined to specify how many more stores the company may open at Sears locations.

The Edwin Watts stores at Sears will range from 2,700 square feet (251 square meters) to 3,000 square feet in size, according to the companies. They will be staffed by Edwin Watts employees, and sell brands including Callaway and Titleist.

Edwin Watts, a Fort Walton Beach, Florida-based retailer, is owned by private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc. and operates about 70 stores throughout the U.S.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Buteau in Atlanta, at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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