Despite losses, Lampert defends Sears' direction
Sears Holdings’ CEO Eddie Lampert strongly defended his company in his annual letter to shareholders, saying not only does he believe Sears is headed in the right direction, but that “the entire retail industry is headed to where we already are.”
The letter was released on Thursday, Feb. 27, the same day that the retailer posted its fourth quarter earnings report. Sears lost $1.36 billion last year as sales continued to fall and it closed stores as part of its plan to transform itself into a “member-centric” retailer.
Across Sears’ retail brands, same-store sales fell 7.8% at Sears stores and fell 5.1% at Kmart stores.
Lampert made it clear in the letter he has no intention of heeding the numerous critics who criticize Sears’ stores for being badly in need of updating. Citing such services as in-vehicle pickup and the Shop Your Way app, he noted that the company is focused on reinventing itself continuously through technology and innovation.
“These are areas where much of our investment has been focused over the years, despite the widespread and, we believe, incorrect belief among many outside commentators that what our stores need most are hundreds of millions of dollars more in décor and fixtures,” Lampert said. “We believe that the developments in the entire retail industry validate our decisions to shift much of our investment instead to digital and integrated retail.”