Sears’ Strong ‘seeks buyer’ for Olympus

Sears boss Liam Strong is seeking a buyer for the Olympus Sports chain’s high-street stores, according to City analysts.

Strong, former marketing director of British Airways, revealed the poor performance of the 200 stores in Sears’ Christmas trading statement last week. He talked of the “continued difficult trading environment for the high-street chain,” adding that “We remain unhappy with the situation at Olympus”.

One analyst says: “This is a coded way of saying Sears wants to sell off these stores.”

Natwest Markets analyst Sean Eddie says: “This is not a cash issue, rather a question of focusing on core businesses.”

The chain has been expanding its out-of-town format Olympus Sportsworld, and has 18 such stores. Reports indicate these are performing strongly; selling off the high-street stores would leave the company free to concentrate on them.

Strong has said before that poorly performing chains in the Sears group would be sold off. The Pro-Performance sports footwear division of 38 stores was sold in October to Owen and Robinson for just £1m. Sears took a £5.8m writedown on the sale.

The Olympus stores are the victim of rapidly shifting sportswear fashions and the strength of independent retailers. It is thought they are most likely to be sold off piecemeal, with some going to rivals such as JBB Sports, JD Sports and Sports Division. The companies have denied they are talking to Olympus about such a move, while Sears denies the stores are up for sale.

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here