(Adds analyst comment, updates shares)
Dec 8 Retailer Sears Holdings Corp
reported its fifth straight quarterly loss and said there was no
guarantee when it would return to profitability, underscoring
its struggle to stanch a years-long decline in sales.
The company's shares were down about 1.5 percent on
Thursday. The stock has fallen 41 percent this year, compared
with a 36 percent rise in the S&P 500 Department Stores Sub
Total revenue fell 14.3 percent to $5.03 billion in the
third quarter ended Oct. 29, hit by lower demand at its Kmart
and Sears outlets.
Sears has not posted an increase in quarterly sales in the
past five years.
The company has slashed costs, sold off assets and borrowed
from Chief Executive Edward Lampert's hedge fund and other
investors to establish a profitable business model built around
a smaller store base, online services and a loyalty program,
with little results to show.
"We cannot guarantee when we will return to profitability,
but it is our intention to do so as soon as possible," Chief
Financial Officer Jason Hollar said in a presentation.
Once the largest U.S. retailer, Sears has lost its standing
as customers move to online shopping or rivals such as Wal-Mart
"This quarter shows no sign of even the mildest of
improvements: on the contrary, the trends have worsened with the
weakest comparable performance so far this year," Neil Saunders,
chief executive of research firm Conlumino, said in an email.
"It is now too late to turn this around. The rot has well
and truly set in and it is just not financially feasible to
Sales at stores open at least a year fell 7.4 percent, due
to weak sales in several categories including apparel, grocery
and consumer electronics.
Net loss attributable to Sears' shareholders swelled to $748
million, or $6.99 per share, from $454 million, or $4.26 per
share, a year earlier.
Sears said it reduced the size of its pharmacy business,
which operates in many of its Kmart stores, in the third
quarter, and would seek to provide pharmacy services through its
"Shop Your Way" loyalty plan.
The company said it would continue to cut costs by seeking
alternatives for its real estate portfolio, the Sears Home
Services business and the unit housing Kenmore appliance,
Craftsman tools and DieHard vehicle battery brands.
Lampert, unable to find buyers or partners for the home
services business and the brands, offered last week to buy a
bigger stake in Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc,
if it entered into a partnership for the brands.
(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan and Siddharth Cavale in
Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)