HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill.–Sears Holdings has appointed Lou D’Ambrosio president and chief executive officer, concluding a three-year search for a replacement for Aylwin Lewis, who left the company in February 2008.
D’Ambrosio succeeds W. Bruce Johnson, who served as interim president and CEO beginning with Lewis’ departure. He had served as a consultant to Sears’ board for the past six months, and as non-executive chairman of Sensus, a clean-technology company. His career also includes a term as CEO of Avaya, a telecommunications firm, from 2006 to 2008, and in executive positions at IBM.
In stepping aside, Johnson has assumed the post of executive vice president-off-mall business and supply chain. He is also continuing as a member of the Sears Holdings board.
Edward Lampert, Sears Holdings’ chairman, said D’Ambrosio’s information-technology experience was a deciding factor in his appointment. “We were determined to find a leader…who could catalyze the transformation of our portfolio of businesses in the context of the evolution of the retail industry that is occurring more broadly,” Lampert said.
In a separate statement, Sears said its fourth-quarter net income decreased by 13 percent to $374 million, and its net sales dropped 0.8 percent to $13.1 billion. Gross margin for the quarter, which ended on Jan. 29, fell 60 basis points to 27.9 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses were flat in dollars but picked up 20 basis points as a percentage of sales to 21.2 percent.
For the full fiscal year, net income plummeted 43 percent to $133 million, on a 1.6 percent decline in net sales to $43.3 billion. Poor results at U.S. Sears stores, including decreases of 4.5 percent in same-store sales for the quarter and 3.6 percent for the year, dragged down the company’s financial numbers as a whole.