Eddie Lampert, the hedge fund manager with fabulous self-esteem, is acting as CEO at Sears (SHLD) these days. And if he wasn’t responsible for the path taken for the past decade at the retail dinosaur, he could rightly claim he was handed a shocking mess.
Fortune magazine, in a smart story about the perils of Wall Street types trying to run retailers, namely Sears and JC Penney (JCP), points out that under Lampert Sears has cumulatively spent $6.1 billion on stock buybacks (paying more than $100 a share, on average, for a stock now trading at $52 and change), while spending just $3.6 billion during that time on capital improvements.
Notice in the stock chart how buybacks peaked around the time Sears shares began their descent? To see the full extent of Lampert’s management brilliance, go into a Sears and Kmart store. Eeesh.
Jeff Bailey, The Editor of YCharts, is a former reporter, editor and columnist at the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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