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Lambert Stresses Multichannel At Sears Annual Meeting

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings chairman/CEO and majority shareholder Eddie Lambert reiterated his focus on multichannel retailing and the company’s Shop Your Way loyalty program at the company’s annual meeting here yesterday.

In his first shareholders address as CEO, he echoed his conviction that integrating the retailer’s online, mobile and brick-and-mortar platforms, and leveraging its membership rewards program, are key to the company’s turnaround.

Indeed, Lambert, who orchestrated the merger of Sears and Kmart eight years ago, appeared to emphasize the Shop Your Way program over his two national chains. Loyalty members spend 18 percent more than non-members, account for 60 percent of Sears and Kmart sales, and increased their average annual spend by more than 8 percent, he told shareholders.

On the multichannel front the company is reducing delivery times, is providing fulfillment services to its third-party sellers, and saw online sales rise 25 percent during the fourth quarter. Lambert noted that fully half of the chains’ online sales involve multichannel touch points, such as in-store pick-ups or home-shipped orders that were placed in stores, and announced a new Member Assist mobile app, launched last month in about 400 stores, through which sales associates can provide shoppers with on-the-fly assistance.

Lambert pointed to cost reductions and asset sales that narrowed the company’s losses last year, but acknowledged that the red ink is curtailing capital investments.

“It we were making more money we could go much faster,” he said.