Leading retail group Sears Holdings has announced a realignment of its merchandising divisions as part of a push to boost business efficiency and effectiveness.


The Sears, Roebuck and Kmart merchandising units will be centralised under the following executives with immediate effect, who will report to the chairman of the board, Edward S Lampert, until a chief merchant is appointed to the group.


Dan Laughlin, currently senior vice president/general merchandising manager of home for the group, has been named senior vice president, merchandising for Sears Holdings. Laughlin will lead the hardlines businesses across all of Sears Holdings and will oversee merchandising for Sears, Roebuck.


Peter Whitsett, senior vice president and Kmart merchandising officer, will lead the
general merchandising businesses across all of Sears Holdings and will continue to oversee merchandising for Kmart


Lampert said: "By centralising our merchandising teams under these two talented and experienced merchants, we are able to create a structure that capitalises on the strength of this combined organisation.


"It allows us to better focus on providing our customers with quality services, products and solutions. By building and aligning these teams, we'll take a more integrated approach to how we interact with our customers and how we go to market."


Sears Holdings also announced that Roger Detter, senior vice president/general merchandising manager of hardlines for Sears, Roebuck would retire from the company at the end of the month. Detter had been with the group for 33 years.


The company also confirmed that Gwen Manto, executive vice president/general merchandising manager of softlines for the group, has left the company to pursue other interests. The company is currently conducting a search for senior leadership for the company's apparel businesses. In the interim, the apparel businesses of Sears and Kmart will report to Laughlin and Whitsett, respectively.


Sears also reported today (6 December) that quarterly profit totalled US$58m - or 35 cents per share - beating analysts' average predictions of 32 cents per share, but falling far below the profit of $552m reported a year ago.


Third-quarter revenue totalled $12.2bn compared to $4.4bn last year.


Sears Holdings Corporation is the nation's third-largest broadline retailer, with approximately $55bn in annual revenues, and with approximately 3,900 full-line and specialty retail stores in the US and Canada.