1. Inside Sears' Death Spiral: How a Billionaire who was 'the Next Warren Buffet' Drove an iconic American Brand to the Brink of Bankruptcy

    Inside Sears' Death Spiral: How a Billionaire who was 'the Next Warren Buffet' Drove an iconic American Brand to the Brink of Bankruptcy

    One morning in late 2015, on Sears' vast Illinois campus, more than a dozen employees huddled in a videoconference room on a floor dubbed "B6."  There two mid-level employees were preparing a presentation for the CEO, Eddie Lampert, when their boss rushed in with some last-minute advice. On a chart pad he wrote three words...

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    1. Do not say these words to that guy.
    2. The only way you see Eddie is through a screen.
    3. My goal is to see Sears Holdings become a great company whose greatness is sustainable for generations to come.
    4. In an environment where new companies like Uber can raise almost unlimited capital, what are the implications for older companies that are held to a very different standard when it comes to profitability and regulation?
    5. But we suspect that it involves the closure of a significant number of unprofitable stores.
    6. He would find a hole in the data and then explode.
    7. While we have been criticized for not investing more in our stores, I have explained in the past that the investments in our transformation go well beyond our stores, but don't ignore our stores.
    8. The reality is, when your top line falls as significantly as it has and your customer base doesn't buy all online — they are middle-aged to older, and they shop the store — as much as you try to shift channels to online, it's just not happening.
    9. He's got it all set out in his mind, how he wants things to run, regardless of any type of value proposition.
    10. He refuses to put a dime in updating stores.
    11. He's moving money from one pocket to the other pocket, and he's protected himself on both sides.
    12. Seritage is transforming retail rents from $4 per square foot to $20-plus.
    13. Eddie Lampert used his position at Sears as its CEO and controlling shareholder to further his and his hedge fund's interests rather than the best interests of the company [by spinning off its] crown-jewel assets to the REIT at an unfair price.
    14. On your watch, this thing is going to sink.
    15. There are so many people running for the door not just because the ship is sinking, but because the captain of the ship is screaming at them, blaming it on them, and telling them it's their fault.
    16. As of right now, it is all up in the air.
    17. It started happening about a year ago, and then it started happening more and more.
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