Sears to Sell Lands’ End?

Is the marriage of Sears and Lands’ End headed for divorce court?

According to a March 15 “Women’s Wear Daily” article, Hoffman Estates, IL-based Sears, Roebuck & Co. is quietly putting the Dodgeville, WI-based cataloger up for auction at $1.2 billion. Sears paid $1.9 billion for Lands’ End in 2002.

Sears is in the middle of an $11 billion merger with K-Mart. According to the article, both sides may be looking to shed some assets.

A source who insisted upon anonymity told CATALOG AGE that Lands’ End has not provided Sears’ stores with the sales boost the company had hoped for. At the time of the acquisition, Sears had envisioned that Lands’ End would increase Sears’ retail revenue by about $750 million a year. While Lands’ End’s total sales in 2003 exceeded $2 billion, it sold less than $500 million worth of clothing in stores.

The source estimates that Lands’ End merchandise accounts for an average of $75,000-$100,000 in revenue per store. “The best store in the chain [in terms of sales of Lands’ End apparel] is doing about a few hundred thousand dollars, and that store is located in Wisconsin.”

For its part, Sears is keeping mum. “We don’t comment on rumors and speculation,” says spokesperson Chris Brathwaite.

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