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Sears shedding Lands' End?
Report says department store chain wants to jettison catalog unit as it prepares for Kmart merger.
March 15, 2005: 7:39 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Department store chain Sears, which is in the middle of an $11 billion merger with Kmart, may be shopping around its catalog unit Lands' End, according to a report published Tuesday.

Industry trade publication Women's Wear Daily, citing sources close to the matter, said Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears, Roebuck & Co. (Research) is quietly considering putting the unit up for auction and the asking price is $1.2 billion, well below the $1.9 billion in cash the retailer paid for the famous catalog company in 2002.

According to the report, those said to be eyeing Lands' End include Texas Pacific Group, which is the majority stakeholder of specialty retailer J. Crew, and David Dyer, president and chief executive officer of Tommy Hilfiger Corp (Research).

Dyer was formerly president and CEO at Lands' End and was also executive vice president and general merchandise manager of Sears' direct customer business prior to taking the top slot at Hilfiger, the report said.

The timing of a sale of Lands' End is favorable. Sears and Kmart Holdings Inc. are in the middle of an $11 billion merger deal, which goes to a shareholder vote March 24, and each company individually may be looking to shed some assets, the report said.

A Sears spokesman told the publication that Lands' End was not for sale, adding that "Lands' End is a cornerstone brand for Sears."

Dyer declined to comment on the matter, while Texas Pacific Group could not be reached for comment, the report said.  Top of page

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