, the corporate owner of both Sears and Kmart, appears poised to ride the momentum from its first quarter -- when it topped forecasts and reversed a loss -- straight into the second-quarter.
Once stagnant in its approach to improving its merchandise and in-store experience, Sears is currently rolling out several new initiatives in an effort to beef up its struggling sales.
Blame It On the Rain
The company is now offering, for starters, a purchase-protection program on home appliances to help consumers who lose their jobs. The free program covers payments on appliance purchases of more than $399 made on a Sears' card.
On the merchandizing front, Sears is relaunching two maternity-clothes collections this fall and testing toys in 20 of its locations.
The company is also hoping to gain an edge over rivals like
this holiday season by getting shoppers to start saving for Christmas presents now. Sears is bringing back an old-fashion Christmas club account that allows shoppers to put aside money on a regular basis now through Nov. 14. If activated before Oct. 31, cardholders can earn a 3% reward, up to a maximum of $100.
In the second quarter, analysts expect a profit of 35 cents a share on revenue of $10.73 billion. Last year the company earned $65 million, or 50 cents a share, on revenue of $11.76 billion.
Credit Swiss analyst Gary Balter believes Sears may even beat Wall Street's outlook on slightly improving sales.
"We believe the company is benefiting from a number of competitor closings, its own store closings, some better seasonal trends and a number of promotions," he wrote in a research note.
Analysts will be listening for any update on the company's ongoing search to replace interim CEO W. Bruce Johnson, who replaced Aylwin Lewis a year and a half ago.
Shares of the company were down 1% to $73.72 in afternoon trading. Sears has been trading between $26.80 and $108.75 during the 52-week period.
Last week Macy's,
and J.C. Penney all upped their full-year outlook. Come tomorrow, we'll know if Sears will follow suit.
-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.
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