Sears Holdings Corp. made big news yesterday, with management announcing that CEO AylwinLewis is leaving the company early next month. Lewis' interimreplacement is W. Bruce Johnson, executive vice president of supplychain and operations.The move comes just a few days after a companyannouncement saying that it was switching up its "internalmanagement and organizational structure." Part of that changeincludes focusing more on individual business units, including"operating businesses, support, brands, online and real estate,"according to the statement."By creating smaller focusedteams that are clearly responsible for their units, we increaseautonomy and accountability, create greater ownership and enablefaster, better decisions," said Chairman Edward S. Lampert.SinceKmart and Sears merged in 2005, the marriage has been one of thebiggest question marks in the retail real estate industry. Can thetwo survive as a successful ongoing business, or was this simply areal estate play?Sales have not been rosy of late. Over the holidayseason, same-store sales fell 2.8% at Sears stores and 4.2% atKmart, year over year.Whenever we go to an ICSC conference or anyother retail-related real estate event, Sears is more often thannot a hot topic. Kenneth Wong, Westfield's president of USoperations, told us in the fall: "We have 40-plus Sears stores. What'sgoing to happen in the boxes? We want them to be a great retailer.If that's not what they intend to be, then we want them to exploreother options with us, such as working on how to recycle their realestate."So are they making the correct steps to become a greatretailer with these organizational moves, or will the industry seemore of the same?

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