Sears posts loss for ninth quarter in a row

Thursday 21 August 2014 18.03
Sears' revenue fell by 9.7% in the second quarter
Sears' revenue fell by 9.7% in the second quarter

Sears Holdings today reported its ninth quarterly loss in a row as sales continued to fall and the retailer said it might close more stores than planned this year. 

Shares of the company, which owns Sears department stores and the Kmart discount chain, fell as much as 7% in opening trade on Wall Street today. 

Sears, controlled by hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert, has been closing stores, cutting inventory and selling property and assets to try to turn its business around after nearly a decade of falling sales. 

The company's revenue fell 9.7% in the second quarter, reflecting the impact of the separation of its Lands' End clothing business and store closures. Same-store sales fell 1.7% at Kmart stores. 

Sears had 2,302 stores in the US as of August 2, of which 1,077 were Kmarts. 

Lampert said Sears was making progress in its turnaround efforts. "In the next 6-12 months, we intend to work with our lenders and others to evaluate our capital structure with a goal of achieving more long term flexibility," he said. 

Sears said it continued to explore with Bank of America Merrill Lynch a sale of its 51% stake in Sears Canada or the sale of the entire Canadian company. 

Sears Canada, which reported its ninth loss in 14 quarters today, had a market value of about $1.5 billion on the day. 

Sears is also trying to sell its auto-service centre business.

The company, once the largest US retailer by revenue, has seen sales fall since 2005. Stiff competition from Target, Wal-Mart Stores and Home Depot and online retailers such as Amazon.com has eaten into the company's business. 

Sears, which has closed about 300 stores since 2010, said it might close more than the 130 stores it had earlier planned to shut this year. 

The company today reported a loss of $573m in the second quarter, compared to $194m the same time last year. Revenue declined to $8.01 billion from $8.87 billion.