Business: At the Top Of the Tower

Sears picks a middle-line boss

When Sears, Roebuck's profits tumbled 28% in 1974, it was all too obvious why. Seeking a fashion image, the company had been stocking and advertising higher-priced goods; when the recession suddenly made shoppers price conscious, Sears was stuck with unsold inventories, and discount merchandisers like K mart successfully invaded its old middlebrow market. Since then, Sears has shifted back into its traditional niche between the low-priced stores and the fashion shops, largely at the urging of Senior Executive Vice President Edward R. Telling. Last week Telling, 58, got his reward: a committee of directors chose him to...

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