Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Eddie Lampert Has a Really Bad Day

Hedge fund investor Edward Lampert's Sears Holdings Corp. revealed quarterly results today. Very ugly.
A 99 percent earnings drop! You'd think it can't get much worse but unfortunately it can.
Here is an excellent assessment of Sears posted on the Fortune web site.
Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears Roebuck & Co and Kmart, is getting bashed this year, as profits plummet and inventory costs go up. The company's share price is also in the tank.
The man behind the Sears's curtain is publicity-shy Lampert, who until recently was viewed as some sort of reclusive genius by the Wall Street set.
Lately, much is being made of his company's run to acquire upscale furniture chain Restoration Hardware Inc. and take a larger stake in AutoNation.I contend these are preliminary moves and that the main event will be a Lampert-inspired takeover bid for Home Depot, Office Depot, Macy's or Gap.
This fellow has to keep acquiring companies so he can do what he does best--cut costs, squeeze out cash and pay himself and other shareholders with stock buybacks.
You don't amass a personal fortune of $3.8 billion by standing still.
I did a column on Lampert and Sears that ran in the first issue of BW Chicago entitled "Act Fast, Eddie Lampert". Click here to check it out.
After the column was posted on Businessweek.com, some people responded to say I was full of it and that Lampert was the greatest. One post said declining revenues and earnings were not the best way to measure a Lampert-owned investment or company.
We'll see. Eddie Lampert may rise again.
But it won't be today.

(Above photo is courtesy of AP)