Lands’ End boosts Sears’ bottom line

Its June 2002 acquisition of Lands’ End is already paying dividends at Sears, Roebuck and Co. The venerable cataloger/retailer posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter and annual earnings, fueled in part by solid holiday sales from Lands’ End and continued improvement in merchandise assortments, inventory management, and vendor sourcing.

Fourth-quarter net income for the general merchandise marketer skyrocketed 72%, to $848 million for the three months ended Dec. 28. The Hoffman Estates, IL-based company attributes the increased profitability to the company’s retail segment, which includes apparel and home goods cataloger Lands’ End, which it acquired this past June. Sears does not break out Lands’ End’s figures.

Fourth-quarter revenue at Sears increased 2% to $12.5 billion, compared with $12.2 billion last year. Revenue for the retail and related services segment increase 3% to $9.7 billion compared with $9.5 billion last year. The company says the increase is due to the strength of Lands’ End and the addition of seven new The Great Indoors stores, which partially offset declines in some full-line stores.

For the year ended Dec. 28, Sears posted revenue of $41.4 billion, compared with $41.0 billion for 2001. Net income increased 90%, to $1.4 billion from $735 million the previous year.

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