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,...