Friday, July 12, 2013

Finally: Pulling Back the Curtain at Sears Holdings

 Almost since the inception of this virtual column, we’ve poked a lot of fun at Sears Holdingseven during the good times, when “SHLD” was a high-flying stock thanks to the notion that investors should forget the stores were a mess and the customer base was a dying demographic, because the real estate beneath those stores was of inestimable value—value that would somehow, someway, be realized by the mastermind of the whole thing, Eddie Lampert, who had famously created scads of shareholder value for others and himself with AutoZone.

 You can read why it was clear that Sears was no AutoZone, here, here and especially here.  (Just for fun, read some of the comments appended to each of those will refresh your memory as to the kind of dreams anxious shareholders kept clinging to, because they didn’t appreciate anyone raining on their parade one bit.)
 In any case, finally, somebody has gone behind the curtain at Sears Holdings and revealed what was behind that curtain all along.  
 That somebody who went behind the curtain is Mina Kimes of Bloomberg, and the resulting story is so well done, and so compelling, you ought to stop reading this and starting reading that, which you can do here.
 As they say, enough said.

Jeff Matthews
Author “Warren Buffett’s Successor: Who It Is And Why It Matters”
(eBooks on Investing, 2013)    $2.99 Kindle Version at

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The content contained in this blog represents only the opinions of Mr. Matthews.   Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews’ recommendations.  This commentary in no way constitutes investment advice, and should never be relied on in making an investment decision, ever.  Also, this blog is not a solicitation of business by Mr. Matthews: all inquiries will be ignored.  And if you think Mr. Matthews is kidding about that, he is not.  The content herein is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.


Colin P said...

There was also this good piece from Brigid Sweeney of Crain's Chicago 14 months ago that gave a similar view of Sears.

Dave Cooper said...

Great article Jeff: Here is even a newer article by Bridget Sweeney on sears.

Jeff Matthews said...

What's interesting about the Brigid Sweeney article is that it starts off almost exactly like the Bloomberg article, and yet the Bloomberg article stays on the Eddie Lampert story while Sweeney went into the entire history of Sears, which, while interesting, is already known.

Although the Bloomberg story is superior (in my view) in terms of understanding how Lampert has mismanaged the thing, you wonder whether the Bloomberg reporter ought to have credited Sweeney.

I'd say yes.