You probably saw a recent story about Kmart. The chain which once boasted 2400 stores in the 1990s is down to the last 4 stores. I’ve noticed two stories making the rounds about this sad occasion. The Daily Mail from the UK talks about how mismanagement and failure to modernize hurt the chain. The Daily Mail chalks it up to the “retail apocalypse.” But I want to highlight what they said about the 2005 merger with Sears and the leadership of one-time CEO Eddie Lampert:
Its debt was eventually bought out by hedge fund operator Eddie Lampert, who combined merged Kmart with Sears in a deal worth $11 billion.
But Lampert, who continues to own the company, failed to revitalize it, and both Sears and Kmart again filed for bankruptcy in 2018.
The Mail makes it sound like Lampert gave it the good college try but just wasn’t able to turn the chain around.
But that’s not the real story.