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CEO: ‘Reality Is a Lot Better Than the Perception’ for Sears

Sears’ top executive, Edward Lampert, told the Chicago Tribune that public perception is putting his company at a disadvantage when recovering from the financial challenges that have plagued it.

“Clearly we have our challenges,” Lampert says in the Chicago Tribune article. “Every time people use the word bankruptcy, somebody who reads that doesn’t get past that word. It makes it very unfair for us, and it’s a very uneven playing field for us.”

The big-box chain’s sales have steadily declined, and the company’s leadership acknowledged in Sears’ 2016 annual report that “substantial doubt exists related to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

The company has closed stores to cut costs and looked for buyers for its product brands, including Craftsman, which sold to Stanley Black & Decker in March. Those changes are all part of Lampert’s efforts to lead the company’s turnaround.

“After the sixth consecutive year of losses and several rounds of store closings, Sears Holdings Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert says he’s still committed to reversing the department store chain’s slide by turning the Sears into a 21st-century merchant focused on catering to its best customers,” the Chicago Tribune article says.

Trimming expenses and making Sears a smaller company are steps toward the turnaround, Lampert says.

“It’s up to us to basically demonstrate to people that we can drive results to get people behind us,” Lampert says. “We’re trying to be proactive with our vendors, we’re trying to be proactive with our members, with our employees, associates, etc., to explain that the reality is a lot better than the perception.”

About Kate Klein

Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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