Sales, profit at Sears continue downward spiral

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) — Sears, the one-time standard bearer for U.S. retail, has posted quarterly losses for more than a year now, and sales continue to slide as the company shutters poorly performing stores.

The company’s cash situation, which has led in the past to clashes with suppliers, is an ongoing concern. Cash and cash equivalents fell another 12 percent from last year at this time, to $258 million.

On Thursday, Sears said it had $174 million remaining in a $1.97 billion revolving credit facility.
In the spring, Sears said that it was exploring its options for its Kenmore, DieHard and Craftsman brands, in addition to its vast real estate holdings.

It continues to do so.

“We will continue to take actions to generate liquidity, adjust our overall capital structure, and manage our business while meeting all of our financial obligations,” said Chief Financial Officer Jason Hollar. “Actions may include additional expense reductions, financing transactions and asset monetization including exploring alternatives for our Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands, our Sears Home Services business and our real estate portfolio.”

The Hoffman Estates, Illinois, company, which also owns Kmart, lost $748 million, or $6.99 per share, in the most recent quarter. It was the fifth consecutive quarter of losses. In the same quarter last year, Sears lost $454 million, or $4.26 per share.

Losses adjusted for one-time items were $3.11 per share.

Revenue declined to $5.03 billion from $5.75 billion, as some locations were closed. The company at the end of this fiscal year will probably post its first decade of declining annual sales.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, tumbled 7.4 percent. Those sales fell 10 percent at Sears, and 4.4 percent at Kmart.

Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert said that Sears Holdings Corp. continues to work toward returning to profitability.

That has become difficult for even industry-leading chains as online sales sap traditional retail stores of traffic.

Further jolting Sears, now deep into the crucial holiday shopping season, is the recent departure of key executives.

Executive Vice President Jeffrey Balagna left last month, according to a regulatory filing. And Joelle Maher, who served as president and chief member officer for Sears, recently departed.

Hollar took over for CFO Rob Schriesheim, who departed earlier this year.

Shares, down 38 percent this year, rose 5.3 percent, or 64 cents, to close at $12.76 as the broader markets rallied.

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