Sears' Latest Reshuffling Reaches Lands' End

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Along with its second-quarter results, Sears Holdings Corp. announced another round of senior personnel changes yesterday that included putting financier Edward S. Lampert in charge of marketing for Sears and Lands' End.


The other big news was that Alan J. Lacy, Sears' president/CEO since 2000, is being replaced Sept. 30 by Aylwin B. Lewis. Lacy will continue to serve as vice chairman and director.


Lampert, who has a finance background and is currently chairman of Sears Holdings Corp., assumes his new responsibilities Sept. 30 as well. According to a statement from the company, he will direct the marketing, merchandising, design and online businesses of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Lands' End, with an eye toward making them more responsive to customers' needs.


The news follows last month's sudden departure of Lands' End CEO Mindy Meads, who has been replaced in the interim by senior vice president David McCreight.


"It sounds like it's a pretty dynamic situation at the home office," said Jim McCaulley, mayor of Dodgeville, WI, who has watched five CEOs arrive at Lands' End in the 12 years he has served in office. As it is the largest employer in the community, McCaulley is familiar with the operations at Lands' End.


Directing the marketing for Sears and Lands' End as well as the online businesses for both companies sounds like "a big task," McCaulley said, adding that he hopes "the operations at Lands' End will do OK through the changes."


Lampert's hand may already have been involved in a couple marketing shifts at both brands. Lands' End reduced its page count recently, with a new Fall Favorites edition numbering 60 pages compared with 128 pages for a general catalog that mailed several months ago and 108 pages for the Summer Preview Men's catalog.


Streamlining also is the operative word in changes that occurred on Sears' Web site. A recent cosmetic makeover of Sears.com features more drop-down menus and fewer images and click-through bars for a less-cluttered overall appearance.


Also yesterday, Sears Holdings reported revenue totaling $13.19 billion for the quarter ended July 30. Operating income for the quarter increased $49 million.


Sears, Roebuck and Co. reported that domestic sales declined 3 percent in the same period while comparable-store sales dropped 7.4 percent. The company said the decline reflects efforts initiated to reduce reliance on promotional events and reduce inventory levels.


Kmart's second-quarter sales decreased 3.2 percent while same-store sales dipped 0.3 percent. Total sales were hurt by a reduction in the number of operating Kmart stores, according to the company.


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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