Recharging Sears

Hooking up with Lands' End, the old store buys into a new idea: multichannel retailing. Will it work?

Wall street blessed the marriage of tools and turtlenecks last week when Sears, Roebuck & Co. announced it will buy preppie-apparel maker Lands' End for $1.9 billion in cash. Both stocks moved up on the news--a rarity at a time when investors are justifiably wary of big mergers. Executives of the two companies emphasized that Sears, now strongest in products like auto batteries and wrench sets, will get a chance to revive its tired apparel department while Lands' End, which has thrived as a catalog and online merchant, will get to hang its wares in 870 Sears stores across the country....

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