Hoffman Estates, Ill. - Sears said it will spin off its
Orchard Supply Hardware Stores home improvement chain, effective Dec. 30.
Upon completion of the spin-off Sears will have no ownership
interest in Orchard, which will become a publicly-traded company.
The California chain began as a farmer's cooperative in 1931
and was acquired by Sears in 1996 for $415 million in cash. Sears tested sales
of white-goods through Orchard in 2004, but began exploring "strategic
alternatives" for the business in 2005 and announced its spin-off intentions last
Orchard operates 89 full-service hardware stores in