Sears appoints new CEO, Q4 profits fall
Sears Holdings Corp. has named a former technology executive as its new chief executive. The struggling retailer’s three-year search for a permanent CEO came to an end with the announcement on Wednesday that it has appointed Lou D’Ambrosio as chief executive and president. He will assume the office and join Sears’ board on Feb. 24.
D’Ambrosio, 46, served as CEO of telecommunications software company Avaya from 2006 to 2008, before stepping down for medical reasons. Prior to that, he spent 16 years at IBM, holding executive posts in sales, software and global services. D’Ambrosio, who has no direct retail experience, has been working as a consultant to Sears’ board of directors for the past six months.
D’Ambrosio takes the company’s reins from W. Bruce Johnson, who has been serving as interim CEO. Johnson had replaced Aylwin Lewis, who stepped down in February 2008 amid falling sales and profits. Johnson will become executive VP of Sears’ off-mall businesses and supply chain.
The company is controlled by billionaire financier Edward Lampert, who acquired Kmart in 2003 and later bought Sears, Roebuck & Co. to form Sears Holdings.
In a statement, Lampert said: "From the beginning of our CEO search, we were determined to find a leader with information and technology experience who could catalyze the transformation of our portfolio of businesses in the context of the evolution of the retail industry that is occurring more broadly. Having worked closely with Lou and observing his business acumen, compelling leadership style, performance orientation and Customer First approach, I am confident that Lou is the right person to lead and transform Sears Holdings. Lou is a proven winner and I am excited to have him as the leader of our company."
In other news, Sears reported that its fourth-quarter net income dropped 13% to $374 million, from $430 million a year earlier. However, adjusted results topped Wall Street estimates and signaled the retailer’s first profit since the first quarter.
Revenue edged down 1% for the quarter ended Jan. 29 to $13.14 billion, but beat Wall Street’s expected $13.02 billion.
Same-store sales fell 1.2%, dragged down by a 4.5% drop-off at Sears. The Kmart arm continues to gain strength, as same-store sales for the period rose 2.5%
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NPD U.S. Economic Perception Indicator
The February 2011 NPD U.S. Economic Perception Indicator, a measure of consumer confidence, is up slightly. The reading from January 2011 shows consumers are slightly less concerned than they were last month.
The NPD Group’s U.S. Economic Perception Indicator measures consumer beliefs about the current and near-term state of the U.S. economy, on a scale of 0 — "very concerned" — to 100 — "very confident."
Source: The NPD Group Inc./The Economy Tracker, January 2011
I think consistency is going
I think consistency is going to be difficult. Consumer's attitudes -- which is what this metric measures -- can vary based on many different (and some illogical) factors.
How can it be that confidence
How can it be that confidence is the same as a year ago? Our business activity has not improved but I see parking lots full at restaurants and malls where they weren't like that a year ago. I wish there would be a consistency to the economic reports so we could have real insight into the economy.
Letter to the editor
“Regarding ‘An interview with Manufacturer X‘ — I chuckled to myself when I read this recent anonymous interview. My first question to Mr. X: Why the anonymity? Embarrassed that you probably shipped hundreds of jobs to a Communist regime bent on destroying the West and dominating the world? Strengthening a financial system already holding trillions of dollars of American debt and wielding it as a threat in negotiations with the U.S. government? A network of spies that has penetrated and stolen almost every technology we’ve ever created, developed or advanced to make us the envy of the world? A forced abortion policy that is appalling? Dissent that is met with harsh penalties, including death?
“China is not without its own internal problems. Inflation. A housing bubble looming large on the horizon. A stimulus package that dwarfs that of our own government. Infrastructure constructed by central planners that go nowhere. Scores upon scores of empty housing projects built to keep the masses working and content, yet who can little afford to live in those same tenements built with their own hands.
“Speaking of these masses, they’ve migrated from their farming villages seeking a more prosperous life. Now they’re demanding greater pay, better housing and more food. Unrest is percolating throughout the country. Jobs are beginning to make their way to other low-cost producers in the Pacific Asian Rim. Where does it all end? A race to the bottom. I know nothing about manufacturing. I don’t have an MBA. I’m not an economist. No corporate experience. No international sales experience. I’ve been in the lumber business since I was a kid. I do possess a sharp mind and an outstanding knack for marketing my small, little independent lumberyard here in Central Pennsylvania. I have a high-end lumberyard in every category across the board. You can check it out on our award winning website middletownlumber.com.
“I refuse to sell products made in China! Call me bullheaded.
“Mr. X, why don’t you take a stand? Defend your product and your pricing to your customers. Give them an education about what’s at stake here.
“We’ve become a nation of consumers, not producers. In the interview, the responses to the first few questions posed to Mr. X, he complained about the negative forces impacting his operation here in the U.S. However, as the interview progressed, he seemed to be building a case of the benefits for keeping his company on American soil. Given the degree of distrust, animosity and outright hostility currently directed at the Chinese, feelings that are now so pervasive in this country, perhaps it’s time that Mr. X and his kind re-think their policies of shipping American jobs overseas. The American public got sold down the river by granting World Trade status to the Chinese all in the name of cheap consumer goods. Well the chickens have come home to roost.
“Our Founding Fathers not only put their personal fortunes at risk, but their lives as well. ‘If we don’t hang together, then surely, we shall all hang separately.’ It’s time to suck it up America and get with the program or we’ll no longer be that ‘shining city on a hill.’ ”
— Ed Costik
Middletown Lumber, Inc.
"WAY TO GO"
"WAY TO GO" Eddie, I apologize for not coming to visit, but I got "Down-sized" again "7yr.s" ago from "Western Wood" and have been "Over Qualified" for everything I interviewed for since. These idiots today have NO idea what we went thru in '68, '72, '84, '92 or '01. All they can think of is "CHEEP-CHEEP". Quality went out the window in the '80's. Look at who we lost........U.S Ply WD, Georgia-Pacific, MacMillan Bloedel & the list goes on & on. All these vendor's were "Quality American OWNED & Operated"! They employed hundred's of thousands of local people. Where are we now? You can't find anything made in America. All you find is "CRAP". Thank-you "Phony" representatives of "Uncle sam". Jim Brady Unemployed Bldg. Prod. Spec.