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Mar 14, 2018

Sears reports lower-than-expected fall in comparable sales

A Sears department store is pictured in La Jolla, California

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March 14 - Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD.O) reported a smaller-than-expected decline in comparable-store sales in a surprise fourth-quarter earnings announcement, sending its shares up 9 per cent on Wednesday.

Sears said its comparable-store sales fell 15.6 per cent in the quarter ended Feb. 3. Analysts on average had expected a 16.4 per cent decline, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sears has been in the midst of a turnaround plan that includes shuttering unprofitable stores and aggressively cutting costs.

Once the largest U.S. retailer, Sears last year flagged doubts that it could continue as a going concern, after struggling against the Amazon-fueled shift to online shopping.

Sears reported a net income of US$182 million or US$1.69 per share in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of US$607 million or US$5.67 per share a year earlier. Results included a US$470-million gain thanks to lower U.S. corporate tax rates.

Sears' revenue fell 27.7 per cent to US$4.38 billion, as it operated fewer stores compared with a year earlier.

Shares of Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears were up 9.1 per cent at US$2.64 in after-hours trading.