Sears REIT Trumps Dismal Earnings

Source: Wikimedia Commons (Mike Kalasnik)
Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) reported first-quarter 2015 results before markets opened on Monday. The company posted an adjusted diluted loss per share of $2.00 on revenues of $5.88 billion. In the same quarter a year ago, Sears posted an adjusted loss of $2.20 on revenues of $7.88 billion. The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters called for a loss of $2.59 on revenues of $6.08 billion.

The GAAP loss for the quarter totals $2.85 per share, compared with a GAAP loss last year of $3.79. The adjusted loss includes gains of $0.56 on asset sales and $0.43 on credits from vendors, legal expenses and other items.

U.S. same-store sales fell 7% at Sears stores in the first quarter and 14.5% at Kmart stores. The company attributed the drop to “more efficient and targeted promotional and marketing spend, and a focus on sizing certain categories … to better fit member needs that altogether generated higher margins and increased profitability year-over-year.”

Sears also touted that 74% of “eligible” sales at both Sears and Kmart stores were made to the company’s Shop Your Way members.

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Sears said that it is targeting Friday, June 12, to launch the rights offering for its publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT), Seritage Growth Properties. The transaction involves the sale and leaseback of approximately 235 Sears and Kmart stores and the purchase of Sears’s interest in joint ventures, with expected proceeds to Sears Holdings of $2.6 billion. When combined with the proceeds from previously announced joint venture transactions, Sears anticipates proceeds of more than $3 billion.

Eddie Lampert, Sears’ chairman and CEO, said:

With the completion of the joint venture transactions with three leading shopping mall owners and operators, and the advanced formation of the Seritage REIT, we will become more productive with our physical store space. This will position Sears Holdings for long-term success consistent with our focus on our best stores, rewarding our best members and pursuing our best categories to transform Sears Holdings into a leading integrated retail membership-focused company leveraging our Shop Your Way platform.

Sears did not publish any guidance, but consensus estimates for the second quarter call for a loss of $3.51 on revenues of $6.09 billion. For the full year, analysts are looking for a loss of $9.32 per share on revenues of $25.09 billion.

Sears traded up about 2.9% in Monday’s premarket session, at $41.90 in a 52-week range of $24.10 to $48.25. Shares closed at $40.74 on Wednesday. The price target from Thomson Reuters is $22.00 from just one analyst.

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