|Forum topic by TheDane||posted 01-05-2017 04:32 PM||578 views||0 times favorited||14 replies|
01-05-2017 04:32 PM
Sears Sells Craftsman Brand, to Close 150 Stores
The Wall Street Journal
Sears Holdings Corp. said it would close another 150 stores and sell its Craftsman tool brand for $900 million, as the cash-strapped retailer continues to shrink and battle slumping sales.
Sears is flipping the Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker Inc., and it will license back the ability to sell Craftsman-branded products royalty-free for 15 years after the deal’s closing. The acquisition gives Stanley the rights to develop, manufacture and sell Craftsman-branded products outside of Sears.
At present, just 10% of Craftsman-branded products are sold outside of Sears. Stanley Black & Decker said the deal will help boost Craftsman sales in untapped channels.
“We intend to invest in the brand and rapidly increase sales through these new channels, including retail, industrial, mobile and online,” said Stanley Black & Decker Chief Executive James Loree. Stanley also recently signed a $1.95 billion deal to buy Newell Brands Inc.’s tools business.
A Sears spokesman confirmed the unlimited lifetime warranty on Craftsman hand tools made in the U.S.—“a hallmark of the brand for generations”—will be kept in place.
On Wednesday, Sears announced sweeping closures of 150 of its namesake and Kmart stores—which it called “a difficult but necessary step as we take actions to strengthen the company’s operations and fund its transformation.”
Many of the stores slated to be shut down have struggled financially for years but have been kept open to maintain local jobs in the hopes they would turn around.
“But in order to meet our objective of returning to profitability, we have to make tough decisions and will continue to do so, which will give our better performing stores a chance at success,” the company said.
Shares of Sears jumped 7.6% in morning trading, while shares of Stanley rose 2%.
The sale and closures come amid Sears CEO Edward Lampert’s yearslong effort to revive Sears, including a recent $1 billion injection into the struggling retailer.
Mr. Lampert said the deal represents a significant step in the company’s transformation to a membership-focused business model. He called Stanley “a great owner that is committed to expanding Craftsman and helping it to reach its potential outside of its current channels,” he said.
On Wednesday, Sears said it obtained a $500 million loan secured by mortgages on 46 properties from affiliates of ESL Investments Inc., the hedge fund run by Mr. Lampert. That is in addition to a $300 million secured letter of credit that the retailer received from ESL affiliates last week.
ESL last week also entered into a nonbinding term sheet for a $200 million unsecured loan to Seritage Growth Properties, a real-estate investment trust that largely consists of Sears and Kmart stores.
Also Thursday, Sears said sales during the quarter so far have continued to be challenging. The company estimates same-store sales at Sears and Kmart for the first two months of the fourth quarter have declined 12% to 13%.
Stanley’s Mr. Loree said his company will expand its manufacturing footprint in the U.S., noting that the firm has “increased our manufacturing head count by 40% in the past three years.”
Stanley Black & Decker will pay Sears $525 million at closing, $250 million after three years, and annual payments on new Stanley Black & Decker Craftsman sales for 15 years. The license granted to Sears will remain royalty-free for 15 years, then 3% thereafter.
Stanley Black & Decker expects the sale of Craftsman branded products to contribute $100 million in sales annually for the next 10 years. The deal is expected to increase earnings by 10 cents to 15 cents a share in the first year, increasing to 35 cents to 45 cents by year five and 70 cents to 80 cents by year 10, excluding $20 million of deal-related costs.
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