Sears’ CEO Plan For Turnaround


6a00d83451db4269e20120a540599f970b-800wiIn February, Edward Lampert became the Chief Executive of Sears Holdings Corporation. Prior to taking this position, he was their longtime chairman and the founder of the large hedge fund, which is the largest investor in the company itself. Over the recent years, the department store, Sears, is one of the many retail stores who have been experiencing a decrease in profits. When Lampert took the position, he mentioned his plans to increase sales and customer visits. He plans included changing the company by accommodating to “hyper-connected shoppers with tablets and mobile phones.”


The first change included giving iPads to the employees. The company is in the process of developing an app that would allow their customers to ask the employees questions directly through the text or instant messages. The second service added include allowing third parties to sell their products on their online website, otherwise known as Marketplace, which is similar to Amazon. They also reduced the shipping times for online and ship-to-store orders. Lastly, Sears created their “Shop Your Way,” program where they are able to track how their customers’ shopping patterns.

Even with these added services, Sears, unfortunately, still reported a loss of $279 million dollars in the last quarter. This caused their shares to decrease by 14%. Some of the reasons that may relate to this loss include:

  1. In 2012, Sears’s investments in upgrading the company are far less than other retail stores.
  2. Sears is “behind in terms of their technology.”
  3. Sears is unsure of what they can use their available space for.
  4. Lack of interest from consumers.

The article mentioned Warren Tracy, CEO of Almost There! Inc. and his experience with Sears’ technology. He said that it took him about five months trying to become a third party seller on their website. During this process, he faced many complications and delays. Technology is an important part of Operations Management as it impacts performance directly. More importantly, technology is needed and used in all stages of management. Poor technology will lead to poor management, which will lead to poor performance. Therefore, the company will suffer as a whole.

Overall, it seems like Sears’ plan of creating a shopping experience that accommodates hyper-connected shoppers didn’t work out like planned. Even Mr. Lampert said that the company’s results for the first fiscal quarter were unacceptable. On the brighter side, I look forward to the new app Sears is developing in hopes of making my shopping experience faster and easier.

Do you think that Sears is heading in the right direction to repair their lack of sales? What changes will you implement if you were able to decide? Have you shopped at Sears recently? If so, did you notice these changes? If not, did these changes capture your interest and convince you to shop there more often?



The Wall Street Journal

“At Sears, CEO’s Tech Focus Hasn’t Led to a Turnaround”

Kapner, Suzanne. Wall Street Journal (Online) [New York, N.Y] 28 May 2013





Comeback of the Orange

Home improvement retail companies profited when the real estate industry bloomed. However, the good times did not last long. The “housing meltdown” caused them to have large number of excess stock on hand that were not going anywhere. Needless to say, their year-end numbers did not look appealing to investors.

In the past years, Home Depot stood out, in terms of growth, as compared to their competitors, Lowe’s and Menards. In order to increase sales, the Home Depot decided to concentrate more on products for the interior of the house. These included household cleaning supplies, decorative goods, plants, and interior design products.  As mentioned in Chapter 2, you have to understand the market and learn to improve operations. Home Depot studied the market to understand it. They saw that consumers were not looking to build any more houses so they changed their direction to selling products that go inside the houses.

Home Depot’s mission statement is, “The Home Depot is in the home improvement business and our goal is to provide the highest level of service, the broadest selection of products and the most competitive prices.” Within their mission statement, they also mentioned their eight core values. Some of these include, “excellent customer service, doing the right thing, and taking care of our people.” They believed by providing the best service will bring in more customers and create a loyal customer base. Home Depot implemented many different services that their competitors don’t provide. Some of these include installation services, rental services, matching and beating competitors’ prices, and providing an order online, pick up in store service. They are competing against other home improvement retail companies by utilizing their uniqueness.

Home Depot made a strategic decision by providing the service, meet and beat competitors prices. They are willing to match the competitors’ price and give an additional discount to make the customers feel good about shopping at the Home Depot. This service will help them create a loyal customer who will come back to shop. Personally, I have some previous experience working at the Home Depot and providing great customer service is the value that Home Depot management stressed upon. Every associate is given a certain dollar amount that they are able to discount to make the customer satisfied with their purchases.

It seems like their strategic decisions and services that differentiate them from their competitors are working well. Some will say that this company was “rebuilt to last .” Recently, Home Depot reported a 32% increase in profits during their fourth fiscal quarter. Their overall sales increased by 14%. In addition, the company also saw an increase in their installation services.

Do you agree that this company is “rebuilt to last?” Have you shopped at The Home Depot recently? Did you notice the changes mentioned in the article? Which other companies have you noticed recently that experienced immense growth?



Cheng, A. (2013, Feb 26). Home depot profit jumps. Wall Street Journal (Online). Retrieved from