Sears Canada Continues to Struggle

By Joel Cuttiford

Sears Canada lost $21.3 million last quarter due to high severance and impairment charges as well as an unseasonably cool spring.

The company said that the loss amounted to 21 cents per share in the second quarter compared to a profit of $1.50 per share in the same period last year, when its results were boosted by early lease terminations.

Revenue for the 13-week period ended August 2nd totalled $845.8 million compared to $960.1 million year-over-year.

The drop arrived as same-store sales, a key measure in retail, dropped 6.8 percent.  The company attributed this partly due to the unseasonably cool weather that it said deterred customers.

“We took aggressive markdowns to clear aged inventory and surplus spring merchandise, and ended the quarter with 20 percent less spring/summer inventory than last year,” said Sears president and CEO Douglas Campbell in a release.  “This puts us in an improved inventory quality position heading into the fall season, allowing us to devote more of our selling floor space to seasonally relevant items as we move forward.”

Campbell also said that the company cut costs by 13.3 percent in the quarter compare to the same time last year after excluding restructuring and other one-time items.

Sears Canada has been struggling due to stiff competition from both Hudson’s Bay Co. and Walmart and has worked on restructuring its operations in order to survive.

As many of today’s shoppers are seeking either high-end luxury brands or incredibly cheap deals, Sears has become displaced with its focus on middle-class families.

Earlier this year, the company announced a plan to cut 2,200 jobs in addition to the thousands it had eliminated in 2013.

The company also sold leases in some of its highest profile locations, including the Toronto Eaton Center, in an effort to reduce costs.

Sears recently announced that it would receive $27.7 million from the sale of its 20 percent stake in the Kildonan Place shopping center in Winnipeg.

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