Sears Holding Profitability Improves, Sales Continue to Swoon
Sears Holdings Corp announced that sales continued to drop during its first quarter although its profitability had improved. The retailer is preparing to launch an offering for its REIT – real estate investment trust – this week.
Sears shares have increased nearly 24% in 2015 and added another 2.9% in trading before the bell on Monday.
Sears is attempting to raise over $2.5 billion through selling 235 of its top Kmart and Sears’ properties and leasing them back through the new REIT, Seritage Growth Properties.
On Monday, Sears said it expects the Securities and Exchange Commission to declare it effective this week and it will launch its offering this Friday.
The retailer also formed a series of joint ventures with owners of malls. In all, Sears is expecting its move will bring in over $3 billion. The moves are crucial say analysts to reassuring its suppliers that were rattled by the long string of company losses and are seeking terms of repayment that are much tougher to keep shipping their products.
Meanwhile, sales are continuing to drop as evidenced by its latest quarter. Sales in comparable stores were down by 10.9%, led by a decline of 14.5% in the domestic unit of Sears and a decline of 7% in Kmart stores.
Total revenue was down by 25% to end the quarter at $5.88 billion. Sears announced that revenue was hurt by the deconsolidation last year of Sears Canada, separating Lands’ End and fewer overall stores.
Gross margin at Sears Holding widened from 23.2% to 25.8% during the quarter compared to the same quarter last year. This was helped from more efficient marketing and promotional spending.
For its period ending May 2, Sears posted a $303 million loss equal to $2.85 per share, compared to a loss the prior year of just over $402 million equal to $3.79 per share.
Sears’ quarter got help from lower expenses and costs, which were down from $8.3 billion last year to $6.1 billion this year.
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