Sears Holdings Corp.’s chief financial officer said the company in the near term will be taking action in connection with “certain upcoming debt maturities.”
Rob Riecker, cfo, said those actions would provide Sears with “further financial flexibility and enhanced liquidity.” He made those comments at the same time the retailer – whose name plates include Sears Domestic stores and Kmart – reported third-quarter financial results.
Given the company’s years of losses, analysts have questioned the retailer’s cash burn rate. Sears has achieved some breathing room mostly through sales of its real estate. It has also looked at options regarding the sale of other assets, such as its Kenmore and DieHard brands, although of late it has broadened that review to include partnerships that could help it leverage those assets.
The company, which earlier this month pre-announced results, said it narrowed its net loss to $558 million, or $5.19 a diluted share, from a net loss of $748 million, or $6.99, a year ago. Total revenues were down 27.2 percent to $3.66 billion from $5.03 billion, due in part to the closures of stores during the year. Merchandise sales dropped 28.8 percent to $2.89 billion from $4.06 billion. What didn’t help was falling traffic at the stores, which sent total comparable store sales down 15.3 percent for the quarter, or Kmart down 13 percent and Sears down 17 percent.
Edward S. Lampert, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “With the challenging retail landscape continuing to pressure sales, the improvement in adjusted EBITDA is reflective of the success of the strategic priorities we outlined earlier this year to streamline our operations, reduce inventory and minimize operating expenses, as well as our commitment to our goal of restoring positive adjusted EBITDA in 2018.”
Lampert said the company’s adjusted EBITDA improvement for the quarter was at least $100 million. For the last couple of quarters, he has been working on financial maneuvers that include sales of assets to help the struggling company’s bottom line.
The company said it will continue to diversify revenue streams through third party partnerships that include Sears Home Services, Innovel, Kenmore and DieHard.
Innovel is the business that was formerly known as Sears Logistics. The business delivers and installs appliances for Sears and other businesses, such as Costco. It is also one of the few assets within the different business divisions that is said to be seeing a profit.