Can Sears’s New CEO Save the Company?

Sears Holding Corp. (NASDAQ:SHLD) was off about 5 percent following the release of its fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results. While results came in ahead of most expectations, the company boosted its profit by aggressively cutting costs. Ostensibly a good strategy, it failed to convince investors that the company could turn around and increase its top line.

Here’s a quick breakdown of its annual performance:

4Q 2011 4Q 2012 FY 2011 FY 2012
Revenue ($) in millions 12,484 12,260 41,567 39,854
Diluted EPS ($) (22.63) (4.61) (29.40) (8.78)
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In a publicly-published letter, chairman-turned-CEO Edward Lampert pointed out that the entire retail industry — not just Sears — is undergoing a substantial evolution. He noted that the executive- and president-level turnover rate at top retailers such as Safeway (NYSE:SWY), Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS), and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) has increased over the past few years. This is a sign that “that the talent needed to transform companies in the retail industry today and the persistence required to see transformations through are not easy to come by.”