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Briefs

Sears Corp. spinning off Lands’ End

– Sears Holdings Corp. said Friday that it will spin off its Lands’ End clothing business as a separate company by distributing stock to its shareholders.

It’s the latest move by the struggling retailer to turn things around as it faces wider losses and increasingly displeased investors.

Sears and the company’s Kmart chain have struggled as rivals have lured away customers for years.

Last year, Sears announced plans to restore profitability by cutting costs, reducing inventory, selling some assets and spinning off others. Those moves helped it reduce net debt by $400 million and generated $1.8 billion in cash from the asset sales in the latest fiscal year.

German factory orders fall in uneven recovery

German factory orders fell more than economists forecast in October, signaling an uneven recovery in Europe’s largest economy.

Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, slid 2.2 percent from September, when they rose a revised 3.1 percent, the Economy Ministry in Berlin said Friday. Economists had forecast a decline of 1 percent. Orders advanced 1.9 percent from a year ago when adjusted for the number of working days.

Germany’s economic expansion has been slowed by the 17-nation euro area’s struggle to sustain a recovery from its longest recession.

Domestic demand accounted for all of German growth in the third quarter.

Foreign orders fell 2.3 percent in October, while those from within the country dropped 2 percent, the report showed. Demand from the euro area declined 1.3 percent.

Friday’s data reflect “big swings” in bulk orders, which depressed investment-goods orders, the ministry said.

Barnes & Noble shares fall on SEC probe news

Shares of Barnes & Noble fell by 12 percent Friday to close at $14.43 after the bookseller said it was cooperating in a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into its accounting.

The struggling retailer has been trying to make a turnaround in the face of tough competition and book readers who are increasingly turning to digital media for content.

The SEC told the bookseller Oct. 16 that it was investigating the company’s restatement of earnings announced in July, as well as an employee allegation that it improperly allocated some information-technology expenses between its Nook and retail segments.

The news came in its quarterly report filed after the market closed Thursday.

In its most recent fiscal second quarter, the company returned to a profit as cost cuts offset an 8 percent revenue decline.

Online scammers use ‘Overstock’ as a lure

The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers that more than a hundred fraudulent websites have been caught using the word “overstock” aimed at fooling them into thinking they’re shopping on Overstock.com.

The Internet domains also carry the BBB logo, which is a further attempt to ensnare online shoppers. The bureau is reminding consumers that there are no additional letters or characters in Overstock.com.

“If it has any words other than ‘overstock’ before the dot com, it’s not our website,” said Jonathan Johnson, executive vice chairman of Overstock.com Inc.

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