Sears Holdings CEO Edward Lampert said the company is adopting a new plan to combat the falling sales at its stores. Lampert called the plan a "connected living strategy," and said it will echo consumer demand by shifting focus towards products like appliances, fitness equipment and auto services.
Sears was once the nation's largest retailer, but lost the top spot to Wal-Mart stores in 1990, and has not yet been able to recover. The company has closed 80 stores this year, and is considering closing additional locations. Annual revenue has fallen 6.8 percent to to $7.88 billion. Although this is better than the $7.72 billion projected by analysts, the year-over-year decline is indicative of the brand's ongoing struggles.
Lampert told Forbes that "the biggest negative contributor to sales has been from our consumer electronics business at both Sears and Kmart." As rivals continue to chip away at its customer base, the retailer has focused efforts on reducing costs, lowering inventory, closing unprofitable locations and selling off assets. "We fundamentally are changing the way we do business," said Lampert.
Part of Lambert's proposed changes is a renewed focus on a member-centric business model. Lambert points to the success of the company's membership program "Shop Your Way," that made up 74 percent of eligible sales.
Lambert, who took over as CEO in May of 2013, has also publicized the option of selling its Canadian operation. Shares in Sears Holdings were down about 4 percent in Thursday morning trading to reach $35.10. Shares are down close to 28 percent for the year.
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