Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

>Why is this a bad thing? The investors and CEO profited from Sears failing and (presumably) in this free market economy that money can therefore be better invested in non-failing companies. Otherwise it would've just been lost.

Sears isn't failing because the business wasn't sound. Sears is failing because Lampert decided to neglect the business and use the balance sheet to play financial games that destroyed the business once 2007 hit - and once it was time to actually make money, they had been sorely left behind. The company that invented the catalog and was shipping things from warehouses before it was cool didn't take the time to build a proper web platform. Sears was mismanaged and I'm even skeptical Lamport profited at all from the endeavor.

If some hedgefund took over Samsung and decided to divert all resources to invest in Dogecoin, and subsequently lost all of Samsung's money, I'd struggle real hard to call it anything other than a "bad thing".




Sears shut down the mail order operation in 1993. I don’t think Lambert had anything to do with that.

It’s not clear to me he’s actually been making money off the fiasco either. Wikipedia: “ In March 2012, Lampert was No. 367 on the Forbes world wealthiest people list with a net worth of $3.1 billion.[12] By August, 2016, Lampert had fallen to No. 810 on the list, with a net worth of $2.2 billion.[1]”

Maybe he would have been better off selling off sears for parts and putting the cash in an index fund...


I'm under the impression him and his group became controlling shareholders of Sears and asset stripped it. That is technically legal but Sears sued him for infringing on the other shareholder's rights during the process. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asset_stripping Lampert is also part of the group offering the lifeline loan. So he helped drain the company and is now going to profit from the loan to keep them alive.


Or he’ll lose his money on the loan too. That $500 million will all go down the drain if the company doesn’t have a turnaround. A loan is giving someone else money and you only profit if they pay you back in full with interest after all.

I saw a different article criticizing him for basically throwing his money away trying to keep Sears going... http://money.com/money/5498143/eddie-lampert-trying-to-save-...

> While Lampert hasn’t suffered like his employees, Sears’ decline has cost him: Since taking over as CEO in 2013, he’s lost almost half his fortune – once as large as $3.1 billion. During his peak before the financial crisis, Lampert managed over $15 billion at his hedge-fund. As his bet on Sears soured over the years, more and more investors abandoned him. By the end of 2017, ESL managed only $1.3 billion, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


>Sears shut down the mail order operation in 1993. I don’t think Lambert had anything to do with that.

Are you sure about that? The Sears mailorder pickup location near here just closed down within the last 5 years. The town I used to live in had a Sears mail order pickup location that was still open at least 10 years ago.


The catalog was eliminated in 1993 https://www.nytimes.com/1993/01/26/business/sears-eliminatin...

I’m not sure what the pickup location you’re referencing would have been for. And if you’re picking it up from a store, that’s not exactly a ship to home service anyway.


The catalog was like the phone book. They still had a significant e-commerce operation. My dad ordered a lawn tractor from them in the late 90s.

It was a big deal because they used LTL freight and many of the areas where they were located didn’t have good UPS or Fedex coverage.


Along with the sibling comment: my hometown of 5,000 people had a Sears mailorder pickup/warranty location only close within the last 10 years or so.

My family had the catalogue come to our house well into the late 90’s/early 2000’s.


Sears was taken over by KMart in an LBO after they emerged from bankruptcy. They were pretty much fucked once that happened as KMart wasn’t exactly a well oiled machine.

It hasn’t been the old sears, Roebuck company for many years.


But not unique at all : Kodak, Nokia.


This is different as those were companies left flat footed due to their massive bloat and inability to change. Sears was systematically raided for money to buy back shares, and other schemes to benefit Eddie Lampert. He is doing this with Autozone too. And has done it with other companies. It saddles the company with debt and lack of investment.


The narrative around Nokia’s “demise” is kind of a half-truth. Of course Nokia would have preferred to keep being wildly successful in the mobile phone business, but their other business lines were largely still successful. I think there’s a perception that Microsoft bought everything but the name when they bought the phone division, but that’s simply not true: Microsoft bought the only major division of Nokia that was losing money! They remain one of the biggest networking equipment manufacturers in the world, with over 100,000 employees.

tl;dr: I don’t think they’re very comparable to Kodak. :)




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: