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Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD), J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (JCP): Is Billionaire Eddie Lampert Making Excuses?

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The 17% tumble in Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) over the past week is either a great entry point for new investors or just another reason to dump the stock if you’re still holding on to shares. Driving the stock down were results for the quarter that ended in April, in which Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) posted a loss of $1.54 per share, compared to a $0.76 loss for the same quarter last year.
Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc (NASDAQ:SHOS)Billionaire CEO Eddie Lampert noted that the weakness was the result of cooler weather, which hurt demand for seasonal categories. Lampert has noted that changing customer buying habits and changing forms of competition have been challenging the retail industry.

Lampert’s apologies and reasoning behind Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) continued dismal performance did little to reassure investors. What does Lampert think will drive Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD)’s revenue growth in the future? An aging population!

Lampert believes health and wellness is key, with the wellness marketplace currently one of the largest and fastest-growing segments of the U.S. economy. Lampert plans to leverage the company’s assets in order to focus on the wellness growing market, making it customized, convenient and comprehensive. With Kenmore, Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD) does have the leading home appliance brand, and its Craftsman brand is the number-one line of tools (besides being a brand of lawn and garden equipment).

Bruce Berkowitz of Fairholme Funds is also a big believer in Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD), with 12.4% of his fund’s 13F portfolio invested in the stock (check out Berkowtiz’s big bets). Berkowitz, in a Fortune magazine interview, noted that he believes that with its real estate holdings, Sears is worth over $200 per share.

Bruce Berkowitz has said of his investment in Sears, “many despair that Sears seems unable to regain past retail glory, despite a conservative balance sheet and many valuable assets. In searching for instant gratification, most are missing key points.”

I have had an internal debate on which of the struggling retailers, Sears or J.C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP), will be the first to be forced out of business. As I’ve discussed before, Lampert has a good plan, but it will take time, but Penney is seeing a host of other issues; the company has been losing customers due to poor marketing and sales tactics. These missteps continue to reek havoc on Penney’s bottom line.

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