Just a few months before he announced the decision to sell the credit business in March 2003, Chairman and CEO Alan Lacy had steadfastly defended its strategic role at Sears. The unit accounted for over half of earnings, but there had been some mistakes. Sears was slow to offer general purpose credit cards and then arguably too aggressive in marketing its own Gold MasterCard. This hurt profitability. By July 2003 Lacy had to consider whether to accept Citigroup's offer to buy the credit business. If he did, he would need to decide how to use the proceeds and how to rejuvenate the languishing core retail business.

Case id: 090513