It wasn't long ago that investors bid shares of Sears to dizzying heights in the belief that Lampert, who is also chairman, would magically unlock value in the beleaguered company. Instead, Sears appears to have badly lost its way. Lampert, who has said he intended to run Sears as a retailer, has so far neither returned the company to its former prowess, nor turned it into a Berkshire Hathaway-likevehicle, as some shareholders had hoped.
To be sure, Lampert, who made a fortune rescuing Kmart Holdings from bankruptcy protection and then used its reorganized stock to make an audacious bid for Sears in 2005, may still have some tricks up his sleeve. He could start selling off real estate, for example, although that will become harder if the economy continues to soften. But investors are clearly losing patience. After reaching a high of $195 in April, Sears (, Fortune 500) shares are now trading around $100. Even analysts, who once spoke of Lampert in revered tones, are losing faith. "Eddie Lampert doesn't have a clue how to fix Sears," said Craig Johnson of Customer Growth Partners.