Sears Holdings Corp. widened its third-quarter loss, although adjusted earnings per share managed to beat Wall Street’s consensus estimate by 95 cents.
For the three months ended Oct. 29, the net loss was $748 million, or $6.99 a diluted share, compared with the net loss of $454 million, or $4.26, a year ago. On an adjusted basis, the loss was $333 million, or $3.11 a diluted share, compared with an adjusted net loss of $305 million, or $2.86, a year ago. The company said adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $375 million compared to $332 million in the prior year’s quarter. Net revenues fell 12.5 percent to $5.03 billion from $5.75 billion.
Wall Street was expecting adjusted EPS of $4.06 on revenues of $4.95 billion.
The company said the year-over-year decline in revenues was driven mostly by fewer Kmart and Sears full-line stores in operation – they accounted for $323 million of the decline – and a 7.4 percent drop in comparable-store sales – about $304 million – during the quarter. Comps at Kmart fell 4.4 percent, driven by declines in grocery and household, consumer electronics and pharmacy, but offset by increases in apparel, jewelry and outdoor living. At Sears Domestic stores, comps fell 10 percent, driven by decreases in home appliances, apparel and consumer electronics.
The company said gross margin in the quarter fell in both businesses, driven primarily by declines in the apparel business.
Edward S. Lampert, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “We remain fully committed to restoring profitability to our company and are taking actions such as reducing unprofitable stores, reducing space in stores we continue to operate (including through the Seritage lease arrangement), reducing investments in underperforming categories and improving gross margin performance and managing expenses relative to sales in key categories.”
The in the past few weeks has added she Shop Your Way benefits to members, such as the ability to earn membership points via the Sears MasterCard partnership with Citi Retail Services Inc. and a strategic partnership with Uber Technologies that allows drivers and riders to earn membership points.
Jason M. Hollar, the company’s new chief financial officer, said, “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. 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 company said it continues to evaluate potential partnerships or other transactions that could expand distribution for the brands as well as alternatives for the Sears Home Services business.
Sears ended the quarter with $258 million in cash, while short-term borrowings were $618 million. Merchandise inventories were $5 billion, while merchandise payables were $1.6 billion, the company said. Sears also disclosed that at the end of the quarter, the company used about $1 billion of its $1.97 billion revolving credit facility, and the amount available to borrow was $174 million. Total long term debt was $3.7 billion.