cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
I have lamented the fact that Sears Holdings owned Lands’ End before on this blog site.
Today I celebrate the fact that Lands’ End is back on its own trading as itself. It is out from under the albatross that is Sears Holdings. It didn’t belong in that world, in my opinion, for several reasons. Among the most apparent reasons was that Lands’ End was profitable. Other reasons include the fact that its reputation for higher quality products was tarnished, again in my opinion, by its close association with Sears and K-Mart.
Lands’ End is paying a significant price for its ability to once again be itself. It is borrowing half a billion dollars to pay a bonus to Sears Holdings for its freedom. That smacks of a ransom payment kind of thing. Sears Holdings and/or Edward Lampert own slightly less than 50% of the new Lands’ End so it/he will still share in its success. Lands’ End will still have to maintain a presence in some of the Sears stores, but that will diminish over the next five years; and it will pay hefty rent for that ‘privilege’ but at least it is back on its own.
This was anything but a ‘marriage made in heaven’. It was really an example of what can happen to a good brand once it is subsumed by a holding company with two major brands that are suffering.
The employees of Lands’ End have to be celebrating in Dodgeville where its main presence is found.
I must confess that I still wear clothing I purchased long before Sears Holdings bought Lands’ End; the product quality is that good and the traditional styling is that lasting (and my weight has remained constant enough to permit that).
So, as K-Mart stores shut down, and as Sears struggles to maintain its presence in various malls given lower traffic and lower sales, at least Lands’ End is back doing its own thing without the specter of K-Mart and Sears hanging over its head.
I might be the only person who felt that way, but I doubt it.