Sears' sixth straight loss, slow sales in Kmart and Sears stores

The struggling retailer's profits decline as CEO plans sale of automotive business and Land's End.
Posted By Sonali Basak  |  Nov. 21, 2013 at 9:27 AM
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Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The company's poor show of earnings was due to weaker sales at Sears and Kmart as well as a number of store closures.

Sears CEO Eddie Lampert, who is also a billionaire hedge fund manager, has committed to selling off much of Sears' assets to raise cash and rebound the struggling retailer. He hopes to spin off its Land's End apparel and automotive businesses, expected to raise almost $2.5 billion.

The company has already sold almost $700 million this fiscal year.

Sales fell 6.6 percent to $8.27 billion. Net losses widened to $534 million, or $5.03 per share, compared with $498 million, or $4.70 per share in the year-ago period.

U.S. same stores fell 3.1 percent, with a 2.1 percent drop at Kmart and 4 percent drop at Sears.

Those losses are close to company forecasts as the company shifts away from its traditional brick-and-mortar business. It owns more than 2,000 stores, but the top 300 owned and 50 leased stores are worth at least $7.3 billion alone.

Lampert said the company is transforming its digital and mobile operations and "Shop Your Way" member benefit programs. The company reported 70 percent of sales go to Shop Your Way members, up 65 percent from the previous quarter. The company also created a "Member Assist" program allowing shoppers to text employees for assistance.

Shares fell 4.4 percent to $59 before market open Thursday, and inched up to just more than $62 soon after. Shares are up 49 percent for the year. In late August, shares were below $42.

[Wall Street Journal] [Bloomberg] [Wall Street Journal]

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