Sears Posts Another Poor Quarter

On Thursday, Sears posted another huge loss, extending a run of bad financial news dating back almost seven years.

Sears Holdings, which is the operator of Sears as well as Kmart brands, posted a loss of $558 million for its quarter that ended in October. That put the company on course to post a seventh consecutive year of losing money.

The company since it last posted an annual profit for 2010, has lost a total of $11 billion. The loss for the just completed quarter was an improvement compared to the same quarter one year ago, when it posted a $748 million loss.

In Thursday premarket trading, Sears stock did move sharply higher after the news was posted and ended trading Thursday up.

However, sales continued plunging during the quarter. Sears stores’ sales that have been open 13 months or longer, which is a closely followed retail metric, fell 17%. Kmart sales at same stores were down 13%.

The company began the holiday promotion period early in 2017, putting nearly everything in each of the two stores on sales starting November 1, as it attempted to generate more sales.

Sears continued closing its stores with 146 more stores shuttered during the three-month period, which is 12% of the overall total it had been operating to begin the quarter.

As recently as 10 years ago, Sears operated 2,800 stores, but now has only 1,104 in operation.

Still Sears insisted it was on track with the turnaround plans it has, despite the dropping sales and its financial difficulties, It announced that it reached its cost saving goals for the year ahead of schedule, as well as recoup over $270 million in cash via sales of real estate and other assets.

That money was used to pay down its debt, with some being paid before it was scheduled.

Sears CFO Rob Riecker said the company would build on its momentum of its actions to date and is going to be better equipped for continuing its transformation.

However, the company did concede at one point earlier in 2017 that there now exists substantial doubt of its ability to remain in operation.

Shoppers are increasingly shifting to shopping online and that is one of the big problems Sears has, but problems go far beyond just that. Today’s big box retailers like Target and Walmart are beating up on Sears and have been for years.

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