So far, 2004 is probably not going exactly the way Sears ( S) was hoping, even with the relatively soft full-year guidance the company provided in January. The department store chain is poised to report a much lower second-quarter profit, as it continues to struggle with waning consumer demand and waits to see the fruits of a campaign to open stores in non-mall formats. Analysts are calling for earnings of 71 cents a share in the quarter when Sears reports Thursday, down from a prior estimate for 77 cents a share. That would compare with 90 cents a share in the year-earlier period. Revenue is seen down 11% at $9.1 billion. "Sears continues to struggle with top-line sales despite the overhaul of its full-line stores over the last several years," said Bear Stearns analyst Christine Augustine, in a recent research note. She is expecting the company to earn 70 cents a share, a penny below the consensus. (Bear Stearns does investment banking for Sears.) The company is coming off the first quarter's poor results, when it reported a loss for the first time in five years due in part to a big accounting change. And Sears recently projected that current third-quarter same-store sales -- the main gauge of retailer health -- will be down from the prior year's 1.2% increase. Shares of Sears have taken a hit recently. The stock is currently trading near its 52-week intraday low of $34.03 reached Monday. Investors will be expecting an update on Sears' apparel and inventory management strategies in its second-quarter report. As its dismal monthly same-store sales indicate, both are still a problem. June's same-store sales decline of 3.1%, May's drop of 3.7% and April's decline of 1.8% helped temper analysts' expectations throughout the quarter, causing them to lower EPS estimates accordingly.