Hoffman Estates, IL—It’s been a year since billionaire hedge fund owner and Sears Holdings Chairman Edward Lampert named himself chief executive and he hasn’t had good news to report on the anniversary of his role.
Last week, Sears Holdings, in fact, gave one of the worst holiday reports in retailing. For the nine-weeks ending Jan. 6, total U.S. comparable store sales fell 7.4%. That included a 5.7% decline at Sears and a 9.2% drop at Kmart. Comps sales at Sears Canada declined 4.4% and Sears Canada’s Apparel and Accessories business posted a comp decline of 1.5%.
‘Transforming Our Business’
What has some retail analysts rubbing their heads, however, is that some of the retailer’s strongest categories reported soft sales, too, such as consumer electronics, tools and home appliances. Toy sales dragged on Kmart’s comps too.
The company also projected a fourth quarter loss of $250 million to $360 million or $2.35 to $3.39 a share. The net loss a year earlier had been $489 million, or $4.61 a share.
For its full fiscal year, Sears Holdings said it will lose between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion, or $11.85 and $12.88 a share. (On the positive, Sears Holdings has $1 billion in cash and a credit facility of $2.3 billion.)
Responding to the dismal report, Sears Holdings said it is still amid a turnaround strategy which includes expanding its online presence.
“During the quarter, we continued to proactively transform our business to a member-centric integrated retailer leveraging our Shop Your Way program and platform,” the company said. “As previously stated, we are transitioning from a business that has historically focused on running a store network into a business that provides and delivers value by serving its members in the manner most convenient for them: whether in store, in home or through digital devices.”