Hometown is where Sears sees sales growth

It’s been awhile since Sears and the phrase "same store sales increase" were used in the same sentence, but that changed Thursday morning when the recently spun off hometown and outlet division product a 3.1% third quarter increase.

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores said sales for its third quarter ended October 27, increased 3.3% to $557 million, driven almost entirely by the 3.1% comp increase and to a lesser extent by a net increase of nine stores that grew the total store count to 1,111 units. Profits increased 29% $8.8 million or 29 cents a share.

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores became a separate publicly traded company during the third quarter following its separation from parent company Sears Holdings. The company is lead by president and CEO Bruce Johnson who shared insights on performance by category.

"The company saw double-digit percentage increases in total sales of appliances, mattresses and apparel," Johnson said. "Multi-channel sales (online, store-to-home, web-to-store and mobile) increased by 28%. Sales of power lawn and garden and consumer electronics declined. The decline of more than 30% in consumer electronics sales is consistent with our strategy to de-emphasize this low-margin business in favor of the aforementioned categories."

Johnson said the company was pleased with the performance because the third quarter is typically the weakest due to the seasonality of merchandise categories offered.

The company’s store base consists of 941 Sears Hometown stores that are primarily independently owned stores in smaller communities, 90 Sears Hardware stores and 80 Sears Home Appliance outlet stores.

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