Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD) Holiday Present: E-Commerce Chief Resigns

By Mani
Updated on

Sears’s online operations head Imran Jooma has resigned and will leave the retailer in February to pursue a new opportunity.

The retailer’s former employees considered Imran Jooma a trusted lieutenant of Edward Lampert, Sears Holdings Corp (NASDAQ:SHLD)’s chairman and chief executive.

Jooma will leave in February

In its regulatory filing Tuesday, Sears Holding Corp. said Imran Jooma resigned as Executive Vice President and President, Online, Marketing, Pricing and Financial Services of Sears Holdings Corporation, effective February 6, 2015.

Imran Jooma is one of the most senior executives at the retailer.

Jooma joined the retailer in 2007 after senior e-commerce positions at electronics retailer Circuit City and OfficeMax.

Jooma is a key member of the Chief Executive Eddie Lampert’s management team and played an important role in the ailing retailer’s efforts to leverage technology and innovate services to revive itself. The retailer hasn’t named his replacement.

According to a spokesman, Chris Brathwaite, Lampert told employees in a message on Tuesday that Jooma would assist in the transition to new leadership over the business segments he was overseeing. The CEO expressed confidence that the “deep bench of talented executives” at the retailer could carry out the company’s strategies.

Sears struggles to reinvent its stores

Sears Holdings has been attempting to restore profitability by shrinking its network of stores and promoting the integration of its bricks-and-mortar and online capabilities, including a membership program called ShopYourWay. Jooma has played an important role in pursuing these strategies. However, these efforts haven’t translated into profits yet.

Recently, Sears posted a disappointing third quarter earnings, marking the iconic retailer’s eighth consecutive year of declining sales and the fourth consective year of losses. Despite Sears’s push to revamp its stores and turn things around for several years now, competition from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, Home Depot Inc and ecommerce continues to hamper progress. Of note, while unveiling its results for the three months ending November 1, the retailer’s online sales were up over 9% from a year ago.

The struggling general merchandiser has lost over $6 billion over the past four years, including $548 million in the most recent quarter. The retailer has been selling off assets to generate cash.

Sears has been attempting to enhance liquidity amid concerns among suppliers about its finances going into the holiday season. Its deepening financial troubles have forced insurers and banks to increase the costs of guaranteeing payment to vendors, rattling the retailers’ supply chain ahead of the key holiday season.

In October, Sears announced its plans to raise up to $625 million in debt through an offerings of senior notes and warrants. The retailer also announced that it would seek additional funds from its CEO Edward Lampert for third time in two months.

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