Sears Lays Off 130 Corporate Employees, Still Hoping To Escape Death Spiral

Image courtesy of Scott Miller

Sears Holdings, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, had a pretty bad year in 2016. The duo of once-mighty retailers is now locked in a death spiral, selling its real estate, its own iconic brands, and closing stores to stay afloat. And now Sears Holdings is laying off 130 corporate employees.

That news comes from Business Insider, where Hayley Peterson has her ear to the ground in Sears-land. An employee slipped her a copy of the memo where chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert gave corporate employees the sad news.

“This activity is necessary to create a more nimble operating structure capable of driving the company’s strategic transformation forward,” the CEO said in the memo.

Losing 130 employees is relatively small when you consider that the company had, as of 2016, 4,850 employees and 800 contract workers at its headquarters campus in the Chicago suburbs.

Lampert explained that the corporate cuts come after layoffs on the store level and store closings, and the sale of the Craftsman tool brand.

Layoffs are one piece of the company’s plan to maybe halt its death spiral.

Eventually, these memos and press releases start to feel like we’re playing “Sears Holdings Corporate Announcement Bingo.” Let’s pick out some of the recurring phrases and themes that are specific to SHC, and not just corporatespeak in general:

• Strategic Transformation
• Customers are “Members”
Shop Your Way will save Sears Holdings
• A “difficult retail environment” that dates back at least eight years

Missing from this memo were the phrases “asset-light” and “member-centric.” “Best Members” is an interesting new addition to the Lampert lexicon.

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