The U.S. retail companies Sears Roebuck and Company and K-Mart have agreed to merge in a deal they say is worth $11 billion.
The merger announced early Wednesday will create a new company called Sears Holding Corporation. Media reports say it will be the United States' third-largest retailer, with nearly 3,500 retail stores and annual sales of about $55 billion.
Sears and K-Mart are among the nation's oldest retailers, with roots stretching back to the late 19th century. Sears pioneered the use of published catalogs to drive sales, while K-Mart built the first nationwide chain of discount department stores.
Both companies had experienced hard times in recent years, with K-Mart declaring bankruptcy in 2002 and Sears selling off assets to reduce corporate debt.
Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.