Lands' End Founder Is Name on Everyone's Lips

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Shares of Sears Holdings Corp., the new company formed by the merger of Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Kmart Holding Corp., began trading on the Nasdaq market yesterday.


The $12.3 billion deal, approved by shareholders of both companies last week, creates the third-largest retailer in the United States behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and The Home Depot Inc. However, contrary to numerous reports, the new mega-merchant said it won't be dividing up the fold, for now.


In remarks to reporters after the shareholders' vote and in an article that appeared in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, Sears Holdings chairman Edward Lampert again denied rumors that Lands' End is for sale.


"We believe we can make Lands' End work," Lampert told the Tribune. Alluding to internal problems, he said, "there is a cultural issue. The people at Lands' End -- they like Lands' End the way it used to be. Remember, the founder of the company, Gary Comer, he sold Lands' End. Sears bought it, but if they should be upset at anybody, they should be upset at [Comer] and not Sears."


Comer's name also arose last week as a leading candidate to buy Lands' End during the New England Mail Order Association's Spring 2005 Conference in Cambridge, MA.


Times have been better for Lands' End than since Sears bought it in 2002. After declining sales and a reduction in its presence in some Sears stores, it reported in February that it will eliminate 375 jobs and close a call center. Also last month, ad agency McKinney + Silver and Lands' End parted ways.


Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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