Shares of Lands’ End fell in their second day of Nasdaq trading as a public company.
This story first appeared in the April 9, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The shares fell 7.5 percent to close at $27.34, which follows the 6.7 percent decline Monday in their first day of trading. It was generally an up day for Tuesday’s trading sessions.
One retail analyst, who requested anonymity, said Tuesday that Lands’ End is a different business today than it was when it was a public firm in early 2002, before it was acquired by the former Sears, Roebuck & Co. for $1.9 billion. Edward S. Lampert, who acquired the former Kmart Corp. out of bankruptcy, subsequently merged Sears with Kmart, and the two entities became Sears Holdings Corp.
This analyst, while not criticizing the efforts of Lands’ End chief executive officer Edgar Huber, was critical of what he perceived to be a lack of investment by Lampert over the years in the Lands’ End business. He also said not only has that hurt the quality of the Lands’ End product, but also that the rent Lands’ End owes Sears for its 250 shops-in-shop presence in Sears stores is an expense it probably doesn’t need given that the bulk of the Lands’ End business is online.
In the past year, Lampert has been in discussions with two private equity firms regarding the sale of the Lands’ End business, financial and market sources said. These individuals also said that while those discussions centered around a sale price of $1.2 billion, Lampert was said to have wanted closer to $2 billion early in the process and then $1.5 billion late last year. Instead of a sale of the business, Sears completed the spin-off of Lands’ End on Friday.