Lands’ End will open its first Long Island stand-alone store this year as it continues to put space between itself and Sears, whose business has been as tough as a 50-cent steak for years.
Lands’ End will open a store at The Gallery at Westbury Plaza, at 900 Old Country Rd. in Garden City, in late 2019, said Rosalind Drisko, spokeswoman for the Dodgeville, Wisconsin, chain known for outdoor and casual apparel.
But the retailer already has had a presence on Long Island — there is a Lands’ End Shop at Sears at Westfield Sunrise Mall in Massapequa, and the merchandise also can be bought at the Kmart in Bridgehampton.
The company is increasingly striking out on its own nationwide by opening stand-alone stores and bidding adieu to Sears.
“Lands’ End will no longer be in Sears by the end of 2019,” said Drisko, adding that the retailer was leaving Kmart too.
The Lands’ End store in The Gallery will occupy 6,862 square feet under a 10-year lease, employ 12 to 15 people and sell Lands’ End apparel, accessories, shoes, home decor and other items, according to Hempstead Town’s Industrial Development Agency.
On July 25 the IDA approved a lease agreement between the shopping center and the retailer.
The agency holds title to the property because The Gallery operates under a tax break deal, called a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, that the IDA approved in 2011 with the shopping center’s original developer, Equity One Inc.
Jacksonville, Florida-based Regency Centers Corp. oversees the shopping center now.
Founded in 1963, Lands’ End was bought by Sears Holdings Corp. in 2002. Lands’ End spun off from Sears to become a separate, publicly traded company in 2014, but the two companies remained linked by Lands' End spaces inside Sears stores and Lands’ End apparel sold at Kmart, which was owned by Sears.
(Sears Holdings, of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, and its assets were purchased by Transform Holdco LLC, an affiliate of former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert’s ESL Investments Inc., for $5.2 billion in February.)
In recent years, Lands’ End has been closing its Sears shops and focusing on opening its own stand-alone locations and boosting e-commerce sales.
There were 39 Lands’ End Shops at Sears and 21 company-operated stores as of May 3, compared with 159 Lands’ End Shops at Sears and 14 company-operated stores a year earlier, according to a Lands’ End filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June.
Lands’ End opened five stand-alone stores in 2018 and plans to open 10 to 15 more by the end of 2019.
Lands’ End was not getting a strong return on investment from its presence in Sears stores, which accounted for only 10 to 15 percent of annual revenue even a couple of years ago, said Steven L. Marotta, managing director of equity research at CL King & Associates, an investment bank in Albany.
About 95 percent of Lands’ End’s sales now come from online and catalog sales, he said.
“They are competing as hard as they can in a difficult environment. … As a stand-alone company, they are more profitable,” Marotta said.
Furthermore, he said, at the time of the spinoff, Lands’ End was contractually obligated to reduce its number of stores in Sears annually, which it did.
Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at email@example.com.