Sears parent to acquire the rest of Sears HomeTown and Outlet Stores
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — The owner of Sears has entered a deal to acquire the rest of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores not already owned by the related ESL Investments.
The move would bring Sears, Kmart and Sears Hometown back under one corporate umbrella, following the Hometown spinoff from Sears in 2010. Transform Holdco — the new Sears that emerged from the retailer’s bankruptcy filing last year — would pay $2.25 per share for the outstanding Sears Hometown and Outlet stock. ESL already holds a 58% stake in the company.
Sears Hometowns stock closed at $2.18 per share Friday. It was up on the news by more than 8% to $2.36 per share in early Monday trading.
The purchase price is subject to a possible sale of the outlet segment before the acquisition, should it occur before the expected third quarter merger between Sears and Sears Hometown closes.
Sears Hometown is a network of 491 Hometown and 126 Outlet segment stores, run by independent dealers and franchisees in 49 states, Puerto Rico and Bermuda. The combined network generated $1.4 billion in sales last year, according to a release.
The Hometown stores primarily sell appliances, hardware tools and lawn and garden equipment, although some have mattress departments and other home furnishings. The Outlet segment, which may sell in advance, includes outlet stores and lease-to-own business Buddy’s Home Furnishings stores.
Following Sears bankruptcy, a number of Hometown operators began seeking other options in order cut their dependence on Sears systems and services. Earlier this year, Jim Ristow, CEO of furniture, electronics and appliances buying group AVB-Brandsource, told Furniture Today the group had held discussions with hundreds of the Hometown dealers about a turnkey store program it had launched in the fall, offering merchandising, marketing and other services.
In the latest Sears release, the company said, “Having these businesses under common ownership will accelerate Transform’s strategy of growing its smaller store format by adding Sears Hometown stores.
“It will also expand the company’s footprint as a multi-channel business that can serve customers through a variety of shopping experiences to meet their needs, provide growth for Transform’s marquee brands, including Kenmore and DieHard, and increase opportunities for Sears Home Services and Financial Services businesses, as well as the Shop Your Way social shopping destination and rewards program.”
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