Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Craftsman and DieHard at Wal-Mart?

As things continue to get uglier and uglier for Sears, Eddie Lampert is looking for ways to monetize assets. Among the best assets he holds are Sears' strong private labels:
With no sign of a sales pickup in sight, Sears Holdings Corp. Chairman Edward Lampert is making a radical suggestion: Sears should consider selling its proprietary brands such as DieHard, Craftsman and Kenmore through other retail outlets.

The notion of expanding Sears brands outside the company has been tossed about the Hoffman Estates-based headquarters for years, long before Lampert arrived. But Sears never followed through for fear that without the exclusive brands, shoppers would have little reason to visit a Sears store.
Of course, most retailers are going the other way -- trying to build up their private label products as a way of distinguishing themselves from competitors. But no one can accuse Lampert of following the crowd.

But it's easier to justify going against conventional thinking when you can point to results. And not to results like this:
January was a particularly bad month for sales and hurt Sears' fiscal year-end cash position. The company had cash and cash equivalents of $1.6 billion, down from $3.8 billion one year ago.

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