New apparel management at Sears: Try, try again?

RetailWire panelists routinely take shots at Sears Holdings, and today is no exception — with the news of a new hire to run their apparel business. Here’s my skeptical take:

While Sears has hired an experienced apparel exec with a track record especially at JCP and (back in the 90’s) at Sears itself, I’m skeptical that one person can turn around this battleship. Sears Holdings still suffers from faulty strategic leadership at the top and its ongoing failure to hire a CEO for its retail operations. And Lana Cain Krauter is walking into a far different situation than she left several years ago at Sears: The competitive landscape has shifted dramatically, the physical plants have been allowed to decline and the intended synergies from the Kmart merger never materialized. It’s a threefold challenge, and a big one: Can Ms. Krauter convince consumers, vendors and her own team that Sears has a viable future in the apparel business?

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