As soap operas go, it’s pretty hard to beat the ongoing saga that is Sears.
Earlier this week, there were yet more twists and turns in this long-running melodrama, developments that saw the star of our story, Eddie Lampert, putting in a bid to buy what’s left of this once-proud retailing entity for reasons that perhaps only he knows.
Of course, the deal includes more store closings, bringing the Sears-Kmart twins down to just over 400 stores, a far cry from the 3000 units that once existed when the two were joined together in the early 2000s.
Lampert says his deal, valued at $4.6 billion, will protect 50,000 of the current 68,000 jobs at the company though, not surprisingly, the details of how this will occur were not released. Given that the typical Sears store appears to have no more than a dozen or so employees actually working at any given time the math may be subject to question.
The math is quite clear however on the news that up to $25.3 million in bonuses have been approved by a court for the company’s executives, based on certain financial performances. This includes as much as $8.4 million earmarked for up to 19 executives if the company achieves predetermined results over the next six months. Do the math: that’s as high as $442,000 per person to the people who led Sears to nearly $2 billion in losses over the past nine months.
Another $17 million, give or take some loose change, is there in retention bonuses for an additional 315 members of management if they stick around. The irony should not be lost on anybody that turnover in Hoffman Estates has been virtually non-stop over the past decade and many who went through the revolving door left with little more than their dignities.
And in the end, none of it will matter. The most tragic part of all of this is that given the storyline over the past 15 years, it’s only a matter of time — and not all that much time — before Sears is no more. The financial manipulations, personnel configurations and real estate contractions not withstanding, there is little to suggest that Sears will survive a whole lot longer.
So, all of this is just more drama, more plot twists, more diversions from the inevitable.
This is one soap opera that, thank heavens, is about to be finally cancelled.
Date: January 3, 2019