Sears Teams Up With LL Cool J, Benetton

LL Cool JSears, which is expected to announce some pretty depressing sales numbers later this week, is looking for an urban solution: The company says it's teaming up with rapper LL Cool J for a new line of clothing. 

"The collaboration between LL Cool J and Sears is the result of significant research on our part to choose an aspirational label that can be accessible to all," Irv Neger, Sears SVP for apparel, says in a statement. "Key considerations included choosing a persona that had broad demographic appeal, representing the true cross-section of the American public that Sears embodies, and working with someone who would be committed to making the good life attainable to our customers. We wanted a brand that would resonate with an existing customer who desired authentic streetwear, and LL Cool J wanted an American icon retailer to which he could entrust his name and his vision."



The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based retailer, which also owns Kmart, says the line is expected to debut this fall in 450 Sears stores, adding more with the holiday season.

Separately, Benetton Group SpA, the Milan-based apparel company, says it signed a deal with Sears Mexico to distribute the United Colors of Benetton brand there in women's, men's and children's collections. (Almost 10 years ago, Sears' U.S. stores dropped Benetton's clothes, due to customer protests over the Italian company's controversial ad campaign on death-row inmates.)

The Wall Street Journal reported that Sears, which has had more than its share of sales declines in recent quarters, is expected to post an 8% drop in its quarterly same-store sales when it reports earnings Thursday.

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