Sears Chief Says Chain Open to Selling Assets in Turnaround

Sears CEO Says Chain Open to Selling Assets
Sears Holdings Corp. signage is displayed outside of a store in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Sears Holdings Corp., the retailer controlled by Edward Lampert, is open to selling assets as it works to turn itself around, its chief executive said.

“If there are assets that make sense to be brought in to the portfolio, we are open to that discussion as well,” Lou D’Ambrosio said in a Bloomberg Television interview today.

Sears posted first-quarter profit of $189 million last month after spinning off smaller format stores and selling some locations, and following a $3.1 billion loss last year. It also has announced plans to spin off part of its Canada business. The asset sales and declining revenue since Lampert merged Sears and Kmart in 2005 have prompted speculation that he’s in the process of breaking up or liquidating the company.

“If that is the case, nobody has shared that with me,” D’Ambrosio said. “We have an asset-rich portfolio. We are evaluating whether assets are more valuable inside or outside the portfolio.”

D’Ambrosio led a walk through a redesigned store near the company’s Hoffman Estates, Illinois, headquarters, highlighting new mannequins by the entrance and a fitness department that has doubled in size. Sears is the top seller of fitness equipment, he said.

The retailer, whose Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances are leading brands, recently reported increases in clothing sales after years of declines. Its Kardashian clothing line, introduced last year, is attracting new customers of various ages, D’Ambrosio said.

D’Ambrosio told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting last month that selling its Lands’ End clothing brand wouldn’t be difficult, adding that the company wasn’t currently shopping the unit.

Sears fell 3.6 percent to $48.84 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 54 percent this year.

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