Edward Lampert, the billionaire chairman and chief executive officer of Sears Holdings Corp., reported that he and his hedge fund cut a stake in Genworth Financial Inc. by almost a third and sold its holdings in Big Lots Inc. and grocer Safeway Inc.
RBS Partners LP reduced its stake in Genworth to 8.4 million shares as of March 31, according to a filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, down from 12.1 million at the end of last year. The fund, based in Bay Harbor, Florida, also sold its 1.4-million-share stake in Big Lots and its 845,000-share stake in Safeway.
Lampert is trying to revive sales at the Sears and Kmart chains, which have declined since he merged the brands eight years ago. He’s pinned the success of the company on its shopper rewards program, which now produces more than half of its revenues. He took on the CEO role in February after Lou D’Ambrosio stepped down after less than two years for a family health matter.
As of March 31, RBS held 33.9 million Sears shares, valued at about $1.7 billion. The fund also had about 9.1 million shares of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc., which spun off from Sears Holdings in October. That stake was valued at about $367 million.
Sears, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, rose 1.8 percent to $58.17 at the close in New York. The shares have risen 41 percent this year, compared with 16 percent for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.