US retail giant Sears Roebuck is purchasing catalog and online sales specialist Lands’ End in a bid to kick-start sales growth and hit back at successful budget operators such as Wal-Mart and Kohl’s.

Under the $1.9 billion (€2.1bn; £1.3bn) deal, Sears will pay $62 cash per share, a 22% mark-up on Lands’ End’s Friday closing price of $51.02. Originally a vendor of sailing equipment, the acquired firm has grown into a substantial direct retailer of stylish leisurewear.

Sears hopes the purchase will complement its department store network and boost apparel sales, traditionally a weak section of its portfolio. Lands’ End products will be available in several Sears outlets by autumn, and in all 870 stores by autumn 2003.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff