NEW YORK – It was another bad quarter for Sears Holdings Corp.
The beleaguered retailer, which operates Kmart and Sears stores, said Thursday that its second-quarter loss widened to $194 million, or $1.83 per share. That compares with a loss of $132 million, or $1.25 per share, a year earlier.
The company was hurt by weak sales and deep discounts, the decline in the number of stores in operation and the lingering effects from its spinoff of the Hometown and Outlet brand.
Shares fell over 8 percent to close down $3.55 at $39.72 on Thursday. The stock is now back near the 52-week low of $38.40 that it hit at the end of 2012.
Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert, who took on the role of CEO and controls the company, on Thursday acknowledged the importance of profits, but he emphasized that the company has made progress toward a “members”-focused company whose most loyal customers receive incentives to buy.
Still, the latest results bolster critics’ arguments that Sears hasn’t done enough in its own stores to give shoppers a compelling reason to visit.
The company, which operates nearly 2,500 stores in the U.S. and Canada, is considered a bellwether of consumer spending for low- to middle-income shoppers. For the quarter, revenue at stores opened at least a year in its U.S. stores fell 1.5 percent, including a 2.1 percent drop at Kmart and a 0.8 percent decline at Sears. The measure is a key indicator of a retailer’s health because it excludes stores recently opened or closed.