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Sears Holdings Chair Sees A Lot Of Sears In Previous Perma-Loser Eli Manning

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Oh, man I love sports metaphors. Eddie Lampert do too.

February 28, 2008
To Our Shareholders:
I would like to start off this letter in a rather unconventional way by congratulating the New York Giants, led by their young quarterback Eli Manning and by head coach Tom Coughlin, for winning the Super Bowl earlier this month. This was quite an upset victory. Throughout the regular season, fans and the media were quick to criticize Manning every time he had a bad game, and to question his leadership. As recently as late November, after a particularly disappointing loss to Minnesota in which Manning threw four interceptions, many pundits were declaring him a bust. Manning, however, did not give up or lose heart. He remained focused, continued to work hard on his game and on improving his skills, ultimately leading the Giants to the NFL Championship and being named the Super Bowl MVP.
I mention this not because I am a Giants fan (I am actually a lifelong fan of the New York Jets) but rather because the Giants’ story reminds me of what we went through a few years ago with Kmart. When I first became involved with Kmart in 2002, during its bankruptcy, the company had been given up for dead by most industry analysts and media commentators. Kmart was like an undrafted free agent who nobody thought had a chance to play in the big leagues. Its more than 150,000 employees and its investors had an uncertain future. Despite intense criticism of and skepticism about the company and its prospects, we were able to rally Kmart’s various constituents and turn an unprofitable, failing company into a profitable company with hope for the future. Like Eli Manning, we know what it’s like to be underestimated and questioned, but we intend to keep working on our game to achieve our full potential.
I would be the first to tell you that I never expected it to be easy, and it certainly hasn’t been. But it has been rewarding – rewarding to those investors in Kmart who stuck with the company after it emerged from bankruptcy, to the vendors who continued doing business with Kmart, to the associates who remained with Kmart, and to the customers and communities who continued to support the company.

Sears Holding Letter [SEC]