CEO Edward Lampert Blames Sears Woes on Media

Sears Holdings Corp CEO Edward Lampert was on the attack Wednesday blasting the media for their unfair singling out of the company over the last decade. He blamed the media’s irresponsible coverage for the woes of the retailer.

Sears was once the largest retailer in the U.S., but warned investors two months ago there was a possibility it might not have the ability to continue as an ongoing entity after suffering years of dropping sales and losses.

Close to two dozen retailers classified as ‘mid-size” have had to file bankruptcy the last 2 years amidst fierce competition from e-commerce and the rapidly changing tastes of consumers.

At the same time, large department stores such as Macy’s and JC Penney have announced the closing of stores in 2017.

Lampert, who is rarely seen in public and a hedge fund investor, began his appearance at Sears’ annual meeting of shareholders with a slideshow that highlighted headlines about the financial distress of the company dating back to 2008.

Lampert told the more than 70 people attending that meeting that you would think this goes back just a month, but it is over a decade ago.

The company to date has not posted a profit for the past six years, which Lampert used as a comparison to Amazon.com’s early growth that had been unprofitable.

He said that he predicts that people think back to now and wonder how it was that they missed the turnaround of Sears, which he indicated, would be due to the rewards program – Shop Your Way.

Six shareholders asked questions of Lampert, including one that praised the hard work of the CEO and his efforts to bring Sears back to profitability but asked if the CEO was in a state of denial about the losses at the company and paranoid.

The CEO responded that behind the scenes there were counterparties attempting to use the company’s situation to their advantage and he was trying to preserve the most jobs he could.

He added that it was not denial, but caring.

Lampert added that Sears would stay focused on improving the relationship it has with its clients.

Lampert told investors the strategy they have talked about for more than 10 years; they believe it is clear; and that it was working.

He told them they had a great deal of data that showed where it was working and where there needs to be improvement.

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