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Sears Partners With Li & Fung to Accelerate Apparel Supply Chain

Sears wants to speed up deliveries on its apparel merchandise to it in stores closer to season.

In order to rejigger its apparel supply chain, Sears–through the holding company Transform Holdco– inked new strategic partnerships with Li & Fung and Triburg. Terms of the agreements were not disclosed, but the aim is to provide the company with “innovative global sourcing practices that are expected to result in reduced lead times and greater efficiencies for bringing product to market at Sears and Kmart,” Transform said.

The holding company said a top priority centers on “effectively managing and improving the operating performance of its apparel business as it continues to offer members and customers the right fashion at the right time at the right price.”

Both Li & Fung and Triburg will act as sourcing agents and design partners for all Sears and Kmart apparel brands, including Jaclyn Smith, Joe Boxer and Everlast.

At one point following Sears’ exit from bankruptcy proceedings, there was concern the retailer would pull back on apparel offerings when it seemed that it was going to focus more on home, tools and appliances. The new partnerships now indicate that neither Sears nor Kmart would be abandoning apparel in their stores anytime soon.

“With increasing volatility in the global trade environment, it’s vital to have a supply chain that is more nimble and flexible while simultaneously opening new avenues for managing product costs,” Greg Ladley, president of softlines and a member of the Office of the CEO at Transform, said. The use of consumer insights, trend analysis and digital design capabilities by both Li & Fung and Triburg, he said, will “enhance Sears’ supply chain in real time.”

Fanny Cheng, president, Supply Chain Solutions at Li & Fung, said, “By leveraging our global network of over 50 production countries and industry-leading digital capabilities, we will be able to provide end-to-end visibility across the supply chain and enable the Transform team to respond quickly to changing market conditions.”

Adding to that, Tarun Bakshi, chief executive officer at Triburg, said, “Triburg brings cost optimization, innovative business practices, expertise in design and product development, supported by latest 3-D technology in facilitating value creation in the Sears and Kmart supply chain.”