Sears' sales plunge 20%

Sales at Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) dropped 20 percent for the recent quarter, even as the company showed improved profitability.

Sears said revenue for the third quarter ended Oct. 31 and fell to $5.8 billion from $7.2 billion a year earlier. Much of the loss was attributed to store closings, including the divesture of its Sears Canada unit. 

The company had a net loss of $454 million.

Sears CEO Eddie Lampert reiterated the chain's focus on growing profitability through operational initiatives and increasing sales coming from its best customers, the Shop Your Way rewards members.  

Sales to Shop Your Way members in Sears full-line and Kmart stores were 75 percent of eligible sales for the third quarter, a slight increase from previous reports.

"We remain focused on restoring Sears Holdings to profitability by concentrating on our best stores, rewarding our best members and pursuing our best categories through innovative solutions to product and service offerings," Lampert said. "Through deliberate strategic actions, notably with respect to our promotional design and marketing spend, we have made meaningful progress in our transformation and reported a fifth consecutive quarter of improved year-over-year results."
 
Kmart and Sears domestic comparable store sales declined 7.5 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively, in the third quarter. More than half of the decline came from declines in apparel and consumer electronics.

At Kmart, increased sales in the home appliance and mattress categories failed to offset declines in apparel, consumer electronics, grocery and household, and drugstore.

"The apparel and consumer electronics businesses represented half of our comparable store sales decline," noted Rob Schriesheim, CFO. "We are altering our consumer electronics business model to one that requires less working capital and operating expenses by leveraging partners to continue to meet the needs of our members."

For more:
-See this statement from Sears Holdings
-Read this Sears transcript

Related stories:
Kmart rewards night owls, adds Black Wednesday and Freebie Saturday 
Kmart introduces pharmacy rewards program
Kmart rebranding Ohio store with K-Fresh concept
Kmart brings back the Blue Light Special
Sears rolls out 'meet with an expert' tool

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