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Sears, Roebuck & Co. may be eyeing the properties of struggling Ernst Home Center Inc. to anchor a Pacific Northwest expansion of its free-standing hardware stores.
Speculation over a possible deal between Ernst and Sears emerged last week at Ernst's first meeting with creditors in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Seattle.
Alan Engstrom, a lawyer representing unsecured creditor Northwest Rose Growers of Woodland, asked Ernst executive Richard Bruegger to comment on rumored talks between Ernst and Sears.
Bruegger declined to speak on the matter, citing confidentiality agreements.
Engstrom said in court that he may ask Judge Thomas Glover to rule "on whether …