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Sears' Edward Lampert to replace Louis D'Ambrosio as CEO

January 07, 2013|By Shan Li
  • Sears' chairman, Edward Lampert, will be taking over as chief executive as CEO Louis D'Ambrosio steps down. Above, a Sears store.
Sears' chairman, Edward Lampert, will be taking over as chief executive… (Spencer Platt / Getty Images )

Troubled Sears Holdings Corp. said Chief Executive Louis D'Ambrosio is stepping down and will be succeeded by Chairman Edward Lampert.

D'Ambrosio is resigning because of "family health matters," effective Feb. 2, the end of the retailer's fiscal year, Sears said Monday.

Lampert -- who also is majority shareholder of the company, which controls the Sears and Kmart chains -- will temporarily continue as chairman when he steps into the CEO position.

"In light of Lou's decision to step down, the board feels it is important that there is continuity of leadership during this important period of transformation and improvement at Sears," Lampert said in a statement.

Sears has been suffering years of declining sales. The Hoffman Estates, Ill., retailer forecast that its net loss for the current quarter will be between $280 million and  $360 million, or a loss of $2.64 to $3.40 a share.

Analysts have predicted that unless drastic changes are made to its stores and merchandise, the company will slide to its demise. Sears has been selling some assets, including stores, after it posted a $3.1-billion loss in fiscal 2011.

It remains to be seen what billionaire financier Lampert will do after taking over the company's day-to-day operations. In 2005, he orchestrated the the acquisition of Sears in an $11.5-billion deal that created the nation's third-largest retail operation.

He proceeded to slash costs and tamp down investment in stores, which won the company a short-term boost, analysts said. But the move also alienated Sears and Kmart customers who complained of dowdy stores and subpar customer service.

Lately, Sears has been trying to overhaul some of its stores and add technology, including equipping sales clerks with mobile devices to aid shoppers.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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