Jan. 8 - Sears Holding Chairman Eddie Lampert is taking over the day-to-day running of Sears, which includes discount retailer Kmart, as the mall mainstay struggles to compete with Wal-Mart and Target. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL The Power Player today is Edward Lampert. Lampert will become CEO of Sears Holdings in February, but he has been calling the shots for some time now. He already is the chairman of the company and through his hedge fund ESL Investments, owns a combined 55 percent stake in Sears as of November 30, according to Thomson Reuters data. Lampert is taking over the CEO job from Louis D'Ambrosio who is stepping down for family health reasons. But his resignation coincides with a 1.8 percent decline in the company's same-store sales for the nine weeks including the key holiday shopping season. Both Sears and its discount retail arm Kmart are in a tough fight. Wal-Mart and Target are formidable competitors, especially in areas like electronics, appliances and apparel. The company has been closing stores, tightly managing inventory, selling real estate and shedding assets to turn its business around. But results have been mixed - with more success seen on the online side of the business. According to Sears' spokesman, Lampert's decision to take over as CEO rather than pick an outsider was mainly at the request of the retailer's board, wanting to build on those efforts to turn the retailer around.