Sears considers splitting off auto centers

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Sears Holdings Corp. announced it may spin off its Sears Auto Center (SAC) business from the rest of the company.

The company believes that “SAC has a unique national footprint that can be leveraged to create significant value,” according to a statement.

“We have begun the repositioning of the business around non-tire related services as tire margins have been compressed industry-wide over the past several years, leveraging the store footprint, the number of service bays and our auto technicians. We are in the process of evaluating strategic alternatives for the business to maximize its value for our shareholders.”

According to Sears Holdings Corp.'s 2012 annual report, the company had “714 Sears Auto Centers operating in association with full-line stores and eight Sears Auto Centers operating out of Sears Essentials/Grand stores. In addition, there are 36 free-standing Sears Auto Centers that operate independently of full-line stores.”

Sears Holdings also says it also is considering splitting off its Lands’ End business as part of its efforts to improve its “financial flexibility” and speed its transformation into an “integrated” retailer.

The company says it seeks to “accelerate our transformation by becoming a more focused company that is easier to understand and to manage not just from the standpoint of our store portfolio but also from the standpoint of our portfolio of businesses.

“We believe separating the management of these two businesses from Sears Holdings would allow them to pursue their own strategic opportunities, optimize their capital structures, attract talent, and allocate capital in a more focused manner while bringing our business unit structure to life outside of the Sears Holdings portfolio.”

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