Sears narrows loss in 4Q

Sears narrows loss in 4Q

Sears Holdings Corp. said it lost $1.36 billion last year as sales continued to fall and stores closed in the company’s tranformation to a membership-based, online retailer.

The Hoffman Estates-based retailer, which owns and operates Sears and Kmart stores, said sales plunged $3.7 billion to $36.1 billion from last year, in line with Wall Street’s expectations.

The company blamed $1.1 billion of the revenue declines to having fewer Sears and Kmart stores in operation. It attributed another $ 1 billion on lower sales in stores open at least a year. The loss equated to $12.87 per diluted share.

In the fourth-quarter, the company said it narrowed losses to $358 million, or $3.37 per diluted share. This compares to last year’s steeper losses of $489 million, or $4.61 per share, during the retail industry’s important fourth quarter. Revenue was down $1.7 billion for the quarter to $10.6 billion.

The retailer said blamed the revenue drop to lower sales in stores open at least a year including $600 million to having fewer Kmart and Sears full-line stores in operation. It also benefited from extra sales totaling $500 million due to a longer period of holiday shopping, the company said.

Shares of Sears Holdings were up 5.82 percent to $42.75 now in premarket trading.

“During 2013, we made progress in our continuing transformation into a member-centric retailer leveraging Shop Your Way and integrated retail, which we believe will position us for enhanced growth and profitability to create long-term shareholder value,” said Sears Chairman Edward S. Lampert, who took over as chief executive officer a year ago.

Lampert said full-year results included the increased costs of paying for traditional promotion for retail stores while also investing in expanding the company’s online marketplace.

“We have been investing hundreds of millions of dollars annually in our transformation and will continue to invest in the future of the company,” he said.

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