You’ve got to hand it to Eddie Lampert; the guy is tenacious. Of course he is also seriously misguided. At least when it comes to Sears.
To briefly recap.
In 2004 Lampert decides to merge a struggling and decidedly mediocre retailer (that’d be Sears) with a lousy one (that’d be Kmart). Turns out that didn’t work out too well. 15 years of declining sales, hundreds of store closings, multiple rounds of layoffs and a veritable bonfire of cash burning ensues. Oops.
This past fall we’re reminded of what Hemingway wrote in The Sun Also Rises. When one of the characters is asked how he went bankrupt, he replies mournfully: “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
Yup the once storied retail went all Chapter 11 on us. Wow, nobody saw that coming. And by “nobody” I mean everybody.
Lampert wins the Nobel Prize for chutzpah as he tries to back out of paying severance for all the folks he ushered to the unemployment line.
And yet the world’s slowest liquidation sale continues apace.
Shortly after emerging from bankruptcy the company announces it will open 3 new small format home stores. Not 2, but 3!
This morning, Lampert decides to get the band back together by bringing Sears Hometown and Sears Outlet stores back into the fold. You know, sort of like an Unfab Four.
And “lipstick on the pig” references get used ad nauseam.
The final act is yet to be written. But to paraphrase Alan Lacy (my former boss at Sears) “we all know how this ends, we’re just not sure exactly when.”
Dead brand walking.