NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD), the troubled department store conglomerate, is looking to separate its Lands' End apparel business as well as its Sears Auto Center business, it said on Tuesday.
The process, said industry observers, continues the gradual liquidation of the retailer, with no plans to sink cash into store renovations to help revive Sears' fortunes.
While that's not good news for those who remember an iconic department store - fewer and fewer these days - plans to spin off a brand like Lands' End plays well with shareholders.
It's also a way for hedge fund manager and CEO Edward Lampert to salvage more of his investment.
Industry insiders said that while they expect Sears to eventually go out of business, it is a process that could take years, considering all of the company's assets.
A Sears spokesman said in an e-mail that the company continued to evaluate its "asset structure" and whether those assets or businesses better belong inside or outside of Sears Holdings, as it moves to a "less asset intensive business model."
In terms of reinvesting in Sears stores, the company noted that while competitors invested a great deal in store renovations, doing so didn't save some of those businesses. But the spokesman said Sears will continue to invest in the shopping experience, enabling associates with devices to help customers check available inventory, order products online and purchase products without having to leave the store aisle.
Lands' End will be spun off in a manner beneficial to shareholders over the long-term, Sears said. That indicated that the apparel brand will be a publicly listed entity with options for Sears' shareholders to receive stock in the new company.