1. Sears' CEO Blames the Media for Company's Decline — but his Obsession with Wall Street set it up for Failure

    Sears' CEO Blames the Media for Company's Decline — but his Obsession with Wall Street set it up for Failure
    • Sears Holdings spent $5.8 billion buying back shares from 2005 to 2010, draining the company of resources.
    • CEO Eddie Lampert defended the buybacks as the most efficient use of capital, arguing that investment in stores wasn't necessary.
    • The company — considered the most vulnerable publicly traded retailer — is now selling off assets to stay afloat.
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    1. Eddie has orchestrated for himself, and for the benefit of shareholders, the most protracted liquidation in history.
    2. We continue to do what is necessary to improve the near-term performance of our business.
    3. He wanted to demonstrate to the world that you could reduce advertising and inventory investment — and yes, sales would fall to some new normal — but you would have a more profitable business.
    4. He was completely confident that he was going to be the next Warren Buffett.
    5. The retail industry is predicated on serving the customer, valuing the customer, listening to the customer, and ultimately giving the customer what she wants — and it's the employees who deliver this. Anything less is a recipe for terminal illness, if not suicide.
    6. When they quit asking and started telling you how it should be run according to corporate standards, the stores began to go down.
    7. One of our cultural beliefs as a company is to embrace feedback.
    8. I was criticized for not investing enough in the stores.
    9. The majority of stores now border on disgraceful and show a complete lack of retail standards and proper store management.
    10. Investors are heading for the exits, discouraged by the declining fortunes of Mr. Lampert's signature stake in Sears Holdings.
    11. I believe Sears Holdings can continue to operate as a very significant member-centric integrated retailer with a large number of stores as long as we receive the support of our vendors and other stakeholders.
    12. Sears' financial performance remains extremely weak which is prompting the acceleration of cost reductions by an additional $250 million.
    13. Normally businesses like this fail and get sold off in pieces in bankruptcy.
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