Hoffman Estates, Ill. Sears Holdings Corp. posted stronger-than-expected results on Thursday as it cut costs during the recession, and said it was closing 24 additional stores. The company cited charges for store closings, valuation declines and severance for the loss.
The company reported net income of $190 million for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, compared with $426 million. Revenue fell 12% to $13.3 billion in the fourth quarter.
Same-store sales for the quarter fell 8.3%, with Kmart down 5% and Sears, Roebuck off 11%. The retailer blamed the drop-off on the prolonged housing downturn, which weighed on home-appliance sales at its domestic Sears locations, as well as a pullback in consumer spending, which hurt home, household goods and apparel sales at Sears and Kmart stores. The pullback also hurt lawn and garden sales at Sears stores. The company said Kmart, which has benefited from increased layaway sales to cost-conscious shoppers, increased its adjusted earnings before interest and taxes from the prior year.
The results included special items. Sears said it had costs of $74 million tied to store closings, including $29 million related to the previously announced shuttering of eight stores.
Full-year net income plunged 94% to $53 million, from $826 million in the previous year. Yearly revenue slipped to $46.77 billion, down 8% from $50.7 billion.
Same-store sales for fiscal 2008 dropped 8% while Sears domestic same-store sales fell 9.5% and Kmart same-store sales declined 6.1%.
In reporting its results, Sears stressed its strong balance sheet and liquidity position.