Sears Sale
Is Sears (SHLD) selling itself off, bit by bit? It sure looks that way.

The retailer's plan, announced this week, to divest itself of more than 1,000 Hometown and Outlet stores marks its latest move to slice off chunks of its ailing business.

Eddie Lampert, the hedge fund guru who leads Sears and is its majority shareholder, has been selling off the chain's assets over the past seven years. He's done so instead of investing in reviving its 810 full-line department stores, critics say.

Sears Gallery

Sears' plan to spin-off 1,238 Hometown, Outlet and hardware stores into a separate, publicly-traded company follows its spin-off of its Orchard Supply Hardware chain (OSH) on Dec 30, 2011.

Meanwhile, Sears announced in May that it will sell of nearly half of Sears Canada.

And, looking ahead, the retailer is also reportedly mulling the sale of Lands' End, the popular catalog/e-commerce retailer it purchased in 2002.

"Everything at Sears is for sale," Mark Cohen, professor of marketing in the retailing studies department of Columbia University's business school, and former CEO of Sears Canada and Bradlees, tells DailyFinance.

"Lampert sells off whatever he can find a buyer for," he says. "Even if everything he does is for the benefit of shareholders, since he's the major shareholder, it's for the benefit of Eddie Lampert."

But while the chairman has been busy pruning Sears of what he's deemed non-core businesses, he's given consumers few new reasons to shop at the department store.

Sears has been on a downward trajectory ever since Lampert orchestrated its merger with Kmart in 2005, posting steady sales declines.

In turn, "The customers' affection diminishes, the financial success of the business dissipates, and [as] it's not refreshed and renewed, customers have stopped shopping at Sears for core products," Cohen says.

Indeed, in a modern retail landscape dominated by mid-market players such as Macy's (M) and Kohl's (KSS), and discounters like bargain behemoth Walmart (WMT) and trendy Target (TGT), Sears has failed to carve out a niche for itself.

It remains to be seen what will become of what was once America's biggest department store, famous for its catalogs and home appliance brands.

While Sears still owns Kenmore appliances, Craftsman tools and DieHard batteries -- arguably its most valuable assets these days -- even those properties are looking iffy as customer draws: Lampert has been pushing to have the brands sold at other retailers through licensing agreements.

Sears started selling its Craftsman hand and power tools through Costco (COST) last month, while DieHard batteries are carried at a number of other retailers, including competitor Home Depot (HD) -- which risks diluting what's left of its brand equity.

What else will Lampert deem expendable? And what will be left of the chain in five years? Stay tuned.




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AMO11944

As far as K-Mart goes the clohes towels and other items are much much better than walmart---walmart clothes shrink stretch out or are just crappy---they towels are the same they tear after a while

August 22 2012 at 8:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RichHookUp. C0M

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Hedge fund managers are good at managing hedgefunds. Sears is not a hedge fund, it's a retailer and retail stores by their very nature require specific retail management .

August 16 2012 at 7:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RichHookUp. C0M

When it comes to dating rich men, many people might think of the word “gold-digger”. In fact, most women will admit that they want a rich man. Vice verse, every single man will expect a quality woman. ------ MY NAME------ is the largest rich men dating community with over 1,700,000 rich men and quality women from worldwide. Maybe you can give it a try.

Hedge fund managers are good at managing hedgefunds. Sears is not a hedge fund, it's a reta

August 16 2012 at 7:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alfredschrader

Hedge fund managers are good at managing hedgefunds. Sears is not a hedge fund, it's a retailer and retail stores by their very nature require specific retail management .

August 16 2012 at 6:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Paul

The only thing that Sears is good for is its name brand Kennmore tools, batteries and appliances!! Now the rest of the store needs to be re-vamped to compete with Target and Kohls.

August 16 2012 at 2:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eastport111

Sears buying Lands End was the most stupid move of all.
People who shop at Sears probably have never heard of Lands End and wouldn't wear their clothes.
Lands End customers would shop at Sears for tools,appliances,etc. but wouldn't be caught dead buying clothes at Sears.
Anyone could have seen that buying Lands End was not going to work.

August 16 2012 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rhianon

Sears & JCP need to give it up and close. We have Kohl's, Steinmart, T.J. Maxx, Macy's now.

August 16 2012 at 12:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lsoxchance

Well, I love kmart and sears, I rather go there than any other store. Each sears store that I have in the Bristol County of MA, has its own personality, so does the kmarts, like the Cranston Kmart RI, the registers are out dated, but when you want something its not just a little bit of this or that. But when you head to my Fall River, MA Kmart, they have it but not a lot of it. Just like the Sears as well. Lands End in Taunton MA, bigger selection than the Swansea MA one. But if your looking for Tools, the best one to go to in the North Dartmouth MA store, but if your looking for the auto dept. no lines or waiting Taunton MA one, over the Swansea MA, but never did business with the North Dartmouth one. I can tell you which stores on the east coast its worth going than any other one in that same area. I wish the big wiggs can open their eyes sometimes, because in some stores like the Salem NH Kmart never had a horriable store visit like that. But sometimes saving the company over than expending is the best thing. I love the rewards points, due to that, I have bought things that I wanted, and still earn many extra points. The toys for tots last year, had over 25.00 worth of Kmart Rewards points, the service is better than at wallmart, in many stores you need help I can promise you in 90% of the east coast stores the help is there.

August 15 2012 at 11:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jeffrey Hardman

Hmmmm J.C. Penny hired an (expert) Guru, from apple, and sears hired an (expert) guru hedge fund manager....mabe these experts aren't the experts we thought they were!!

August 15 2012 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
suec8

I have no understanding of Sears' strategy. They seem to be in the business of buying other businesses and then running them into the ground and then whine about how they are no longer part of their core business and could someone now please buy this ruined company from us???

August 15 2012 at 6:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply