AFTER NEARLY TWO YEARS IN THE RED, SEARS TURNS A PROFIT IN Q1

In Retail News, What's New by Christine Galasso

After nearly two years of sales declines, and an almost imminent closure of business, Sears Holdings Corporation is showing some signs of a rebound.

The company released its financial results for the first quarter ended April 29, 2017, showing a net income of $244, compared to a net loss of $471 million for the prior year first quarter.

Edward S. Lampert, Holdings’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement, “While this was certainly a challenging quarter for our Company, it was also one that clearly demonstrated our commitment to return Sears Holdings to solid financial footing. We recognize that we need to accelerate our efforts to improve our operational performance and are moving decisively with our $1.25 billion restructuring program.”

Other highlights since the beginning of the first quarter include:

• Delivered $700 million in annualized cost savings and announced incremental actions to increase annualized cost savings target to $1.25 billion from $1.0 billion

• Paydown of approximately $418 million of outstanding term loans

The company, which serves as the parent to Sears, Kmart and all their subsidiaries, also made headway with its marketing and store efforts. It expanded its “Shop Your Way VIP program,” a loyalty program whose success resulted in over a 50% increase in the number of VIP members compared to the same period last year.

“We remain focused on driving the growth of our Shop Your Way ecosystem and are pleased with the traction we gained with our VIP membership base, which more than doubled in the last year,” Lampert added.

Under the Sears brand in San Antonio, Texas, the company opened its first DieHard Auto Center, with a new store format offering state-of-the-art technology and services to help drivers make the right choices for their vehicle’s needs.

Despite the good news, Sears still has a long road ahead, still the company remains optimistic.

Rob Riecker, Holdings’ Chief Financial Officer, said, “During the first quarter we took decisive actions to reduce our cost base and drive operational efficiencies which allowed us to make significant progress on our restructuring program. We also remained focused on increasing our financial flexibility and creating value from our asset base to ensure we continue to meet our financial obligations and fund our transformation. We will continue to evaluate our options to deliver further improvements to our operational performance and balance sheet.”

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