retail news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that "Sears Holdings Corp., the estate of the iconic department store left behind in bankruptcy, has agreed to settle litigation over new owner Edward Lampert’s $5 billion purchase of the retailer’s best stores for more than $18 million.

"Sears sold its best assets including 425 of its most profitable stores back to Mr. Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., last year, and an ESL-backed company, Transform Holdco LLC, became the new owner. Fights between the 'old' and 'new' Sears over the payment terms of the transaction started almost immediately."

While the old Sears said that the new Sears owed it more than $57 million, it has agreed to take a check for $12 million, which "may ultimately go to paying off the old Sears’s vendors, former employees owed severance and tax authorities."

Probably be a smart move to take the $12 million check to the bank ASAP, and make sure it clears. The so-called 'new' Sears may not be around very long.

Glossy reports that Target has announced All in Motion, a private-label "activewear brand for men, women and kids, launching online on Jan. 17 and in stores Jan. 24. For Target, the line represents a growing focus on activewear and another big step for the company’s growing apparel empire."

According to the story, "The retailer now has 41 owned brands, 19 of which are found in the men’s, women’s and kids’ clothing and accessories categories. Others are in grocery, beauty and home. At a time when all big-box retailers from Walmart to Kohl’s are investing more in private label, and Amazon is ramping up its fashion business, Target continues to show it’s investing time and resources into building brands that go beyond just filling a white space in the market at a lower price point."
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