Economy and Business
Mon June 25, 2012
Some analysts say Sears could sell Lands’ End
The head of Sears recently said the company was open to selling some of its assets, as it continues working to become stronger. Some analysts say that could eventually mean a new owner for Dodgeville-based Lands’ End.
Sears bought the popular casual and outdoor apparel company Lands’ End in 2002.
In recent years, Sears Holdings Corporation has been losing money, but did turn a profit in the last quarter due to strong apparel sales. Sears CEO Lou D’Ambrosio says they’re open to selling assets. He has also said that Lands’ End would be an easy sell, although they’re not actively pursuing its sale.
Research analysts at Credit Suisse predict Sears will sell or spinoff Lands’ End by the end of the year.
UW-Madison Center for Retailing Excellence executive director Jerry O’Brien declined to speculate on Lands’ End’s future. He says Lands’ End is a strong, valuable brand with a loyal customer base. Regardless, he says business leaders have to steer themselves in more profitable directions, “Often -- and again I won’t talk about a specific company because I have no idea what Sears’ plans are -- but if you’re a big company with difficult profits, it’s best to focus back more on your core mission. Sometimes selling off assets to get you the money to do what you do best is a good step.”
Lands’ End officials also declined to comment on what they call ‘industry rumors.’ Kelly Ritchie is the Senior Vice President of Employee and Customer Services. She says Lands’ End is doing great: “Lands’ End is a global lifestyle brand with many, many customers and the future is very bright as we look ahead with the innovative products we continue to launch.”
Lands’ End employs 5,000 people in Wisconsin.