Following our year-end financial results announcement this morning, I wanted to reflect on the progress we made over the past year and emphasize key elements of our strategy going forward. As many of you know, 2016 proved to be another challenging year for most “bricks and mortar” retailers. Our company was not immune to these headwinds. Regardless, as a result of the strategic actions we have taken, we delivered Adjusted EBITDA1 improvements in the fourth quarter, increased our financial flexibility, and are moving forward with positive momentum.
Before I discuss the key drivers of our performance in more detail, I would like to re-emphasize an important point I made during our recent Town Hall meeting, so that, as a team, we can focus on driving our future success with a clear understanding on where our company stands today and the opportunity ahead of us. Sears Holdings is built on a strong foundation that will continue to provide us competitive advantages, as we drive our strategic transformation to become a more innovative and agile retailer.
We have very valuable brands among our assets, including some of the most iconic American brands. We have a large store footprint, dedicated associates and tens of millions of Shop Your Way members actively shopping with us. We saw the disruption of retail coming more than a decade ago and built a differentiated online shopping and membership platform – Shop Your Way – to ensure our participation in the next wave of retail. All of these assets – whether inherited, acquired or built – are our core strengths. They’re what makes us a competitive retailer today and will continue to do so.
Importantly, we also have what it takes to move us forward. We are in a financial position to continue to fund our operating needs and meet our financial obligations. We also have untapped opportunities to maximize the value of our existing assets, create additional financial flexibility and expand our Shop Your Way ecosystem to drive our future growth.
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