By Pete Gallo
Eddie Lampert's Sears-Kmart merger has had its share of
detractors, but some savvy business moves in the works at Sears
and a positive trend for the stock price are indications that
Lampert is on the right track.
ESL owns 47.6 million shares in the reborn Sears. The ride
has been volatile. The stock dipped from $163 in mid-2005 to
just $121 in early 2006. But over the past 12 months, Sears
shares have jumped from $140 to $195. That means ESL's stake
was worth $9.3 billion as of mid-April, up $2.6 billion over
the last year.
With those numbers, Lampert might be justified in thumbing
his nose at those who thought Sears was just a real estate play
or holding company for his hedge fund and that its retail
business would take a back seat. It's true that the retailer's
sales have been lagging,...