Sears CEO Eddie Lampert Blames Media for Company's Downturn
In a rare interview, Sears CEO Eddie Lampert said that the struggling retailer was "fighting like hell" to stay afloat, but unfair media coverage was making it difficult for the company to turn business around.
"I feel like we're ahead of J.C. Penney, we're ahead of Macy's, we're ahead of Target, in some aspects of where the world is going," Lampert told the Chicago Tribune. He also said that news articles speculating the company’s bankruptcy are holding Sears back.
"Every time people use the word ‘bankruptcy,’ somebody who reads that doesn't get past that word," Lampert said. "It makes it very unfair for us, and it's a very uneven playing field for us. Costco came out last year with a new card and everyone was talking about it and writing about it. When we come out with our card, people only talked about closing stores. It's true that on the left, we're closing stores. We're not making money. On the right is where we're going."
Lampert said this media bias is influencing Sears’ vendor relationships. He accuses vendors of treating his company like a “pariah” and questioning its ability to pay for orders "because there are a lot of articles that are speculating, and there are elements of truth, but they're certainly designed to scare people. If you're a vendor and want to do business with us, then you have to treat us like a customer. You don't treat us like a pariah."
Sears has closed hundreds of stores and sold real estate and brand assets, like Craftsman. The company is facing a $500 million loan payment in July, and with that, Wall Street has been speculating on a bankruptcy filing.