A former Sears executive says the retailer has gone “from mediocrity to bad to just plain sad” and it’s “time to stop the charade and embrace the inevitable.”
Steven Dennis, a former vice president at Sears, spent a decade at the struggling retailer and left in 2003 to join the Neiman Marcus Group. He’s now an advisor at SageBerry Consulting and has some sage advice for his former employer.
On his blog, he list five reasons why Sears should shut its doors and liquidate now.
He complains that Sears has, “no reason for being;” its competitors are only getting stronger; Sears is only “digging a deeper hole”; it’s valuable assets are only becoming less valuable; and the retailer is led by a man “who is either a liar or delusional.” Click here to read Dennis’ post.
Suggesting the old boss may be a liar is about as harsh as it gets in the relatively polite industry of retailing. CEO Eddie Lampert is a billionaire hedge fund manager who owns 48% of Sears/Kmart. Clearly, he’s had a bad run, but what’s he supposed to say? ‘Yeah, you’re right, we can’t make Sears work any better than Kmart’? Does holding his really bad had of cards close to his chest make him a prevaricator or just your typical CEO under constant fire?
“The results speak for themselves,” Dennis writes. “Lampert doesn’t know what he is doing. After 28 straight quarters of declining sales – let THAT sink in for a minute – he has the chutzpah to assert, among other things, that Sears is investing in where retail will be in the future.”
Lampert has kept Sears alive for a long time, surviving a horrible economy, by closing stores and spinning off assets, one by one. One of his spinoffs, Orchard Supply hardware stores, had to file bankruptcy. But stripping away assets and doing deals is what buys him more time. Click here to read my recent column on Sears spinning off clothing brand Lands’ End. This is why Sears is still here. But maybe Sears shouldn’t be here.
“The uncomfortable and sad reality is this: Sears has zero chance of transforming itself into a viable retail entity,” Dennis writes. “Any further investment in this sinking ship is throwing good money after bad. … Let’s stop the insanity.”