Wickes Cos. to Sell Chains; Products Unit Reshuffled

Times Staff Writer

Wickes Cos. said Tuesday that it has agreed to sell two Midwestern retail chains and an insurance unit for about $100 million and also announced a reorganization of its consumer and industrial products group acquired last year from Gulf & Western Industries.

The sale is not expected to have a material affect on the Santa Monica-based company's profitability, Wickes said.

"These actions will strengthen our operating structure and better enable concentration on the business areas we have identified for future growth," Sanford C. Sigoloff, chairman and chief executive of the retailing conglomerate, said in a statement. The company's operating units include Wickes Furniture and Builders Emporium.

The reorganization followed the resignation of James I. Spiegel as president of the former Gulf & Western group. Under the plan, managers of Kayser-Roth Apparel, Kayser-Roth Hosiery, Wickes Manufacturing, Simmons Bedding and Simmons Universal who formerly reported to Spiegel will now report to Sigoloff.

Agreements in principle were reached for the sale to management-led groups of Red Owl Stores and Snyder Drug Stores, both of which are based in the Minneapolis area. The third unit to be sold--Western Diversified Services of Northbrook, Ill.--will go to John Alden Life Insurance of Miami, a unit of Los Angeles-based Great Western Financial.

The sales are expected to be completed by March, Wickes said.

Wickes emerged from a bankruptcy reorganization a year ago. Within a few months, the reorganized company announced its acquisition of the Gulf & Western units in a cash deal valued at $1 billion.

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