Can a New CFO Save Sears?

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Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) announced Friday morning that it has promoted Senior Vice President Jason Hollar to chief financial officer, effective immediately. Not exactly fresh blood, as Hollar has been a part of the Sears financial team since October of 2014.

In the announcement, Chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert said:

We are fortunate to have a deep bench of finance leadership as Sears Holdings continues to transform its business to an asset-light organization centered on its Shop Your Way program powered by our integrated retail innovations.

But will investors see this as more deck chair shuffling as the ship continues to slowly sink?

Sears Holdings, parent of both Sears and Kmart, has been in one of those long-term turnarounds that never seems to quite turn around. The company has not been profitable since 2010, and its fiscal 2015 revenue is less than half of what it was a decade ago. It lost almost $4 billion over the past three years. In the most recent quarter, it lost another $900 million. Its shares are down nearly 85% in the past five years. Fitch Ratings recently tagged Sears as a likely retail bankruptcy.

On top of that, it made the cut in both the most recent 24/7 Wall St. Customer Service Hall of Shame and the Worst Companies to Work For list.

Research firm Green Street Advisors suggested the survival of Sears depends on closing half its stores:

Sears and J.C. Penney have been slow to reduce their footprints, despite plummeting revenues. Together, they cause the vast majority of the industry’s ‘sales productivity gap’ and continue to be the prime candidates for store closures.

Shuttering half of Sears locations would certainly mean the end to tens of thousands of jobs.

24/7 Wall St. recently pondered whether a merger with other struggling retailers, such as J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) or Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M), might be a path to survival.

So is the new CFO meant to save the company, or to oversee its demise? Only time will tell.

Shares were inactive in premarket trading, after hitting a multiyear low of $10.50 on Thursday. The stock is down more than 48% year to date.

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