Sears Earnings Raise Hopes Again With More Store Closings

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Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) reported second-quarter 2017 results before markets opened on Thursday. The company posted a diluted loss per share of $2.34 on revenues of $4.37 billion. In the same quarter a year ago, Sears posted a net loss of $3.70 on revenues of $5.66 billion. The consensus estimates called for a loss of $2.48 on revenues of $4.21 billion.

Adjusted to account for asset sales and store closures, among other one-time items, Sears posted a net loss per share of $1.16. Store closures accounted for $770 million of the revenue decline.

Same-store sales fell 13.2% at Sears stores in the second quarter and 9.4% at Kmart stores. Excluding the reduction in consumer electronics assortment and the reduction of the number of pharmacies in remaining Kmart stores, same-store sales fell 12.1% at Sears and 6.8% at Kmart.

In addition to its previously announced closing of some 330 Sears stores this year, the company said this morning that it will also close 28 Kmart stores this year.

Edward S. Lampert, Sears chairman and CEO, said:

We are making progress on the strategic priorities we outlined earlier this year and remain focused on returning our Company to profitability. The comprehensive restructuring of our operations is delivering cost efficiencies and helping drive improvements to our operating performance. While the third quarter has historically been our most difficult quarter over the past several years, we are working towards making meaningful improvement in our performance this year as a result of the restructuring actions we have put in place, and our continued focus on the expansion of our Shop Your Way ecosystem.

Sears did not publish any guidance, but consensus estimates for the third quarter call for a loss of $4.07 per share on revenues of $3.86 billion. For the full year, analysts are looking for a loss of $11.20 per share on revenues of $16.9 billion.

Last month the company struck a deal with Amazon to sell its Kenmore appliances at the Amazon.com website. Sears continues to “explore opportunities” for its Kenmore and DieHard brands, including possible sales of the brands.

Sears also announced an agreement with MetLife to annuitize $512 million in pension obligations. In May the company reached a similar deal with MetLife for $515 million in pension payments covering some 51,000 retirees. The new deal adds another 20,000 retirees to the plan.

Shares traded up about 0.4% in Thursday’s premarket session to $8.60, after closing down about 5% on Wednesday at $8.57, in a 52-week range of $5.50 to $14.80. The 12-month price target is $4.00 from just one analyst.