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The Softer Side, Indeed.

Sears to Buy Lands' End for $1.9 Billion. Sears, Roebuck & Company, the nation's largest department store company, agreed to buy Lands' End the biggest specialty catalog and Internet retailer, for $1.9 billion in cash.

OK, let me get this straight. Sears has a catalog for 100 years. It pretty much invents direct marketing and mail order. It kills the catalog in 1993. Then, 10 years later, it spends $1.9 billion to buy a casual clothing company that pretty recently had revenues that didn't even amount to rounding error for Sears.

And if you're going to give me the hard goods/soft good argument about Sears stores and the catalog, you probably need to remember that Lands' End started by selling sailing equipment and attire.

I can't help but wonder how much it would have cost Sears to stick with the catalog for the intervening years. And I'd love to hear how Sears's management has been/will be punished for the expensive reversal of course.

I just hope Sears doesn't screw up Lands' End...



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