ASHLEY M. HEHERCHICAGO (AP) ¿ Sears Holdings Corp. reports results for the second quarter on Thursday. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period. OVERVIEW: Investors will find out Thursday if Sears Holdings Corp. was able to keep its momentum from the first quarter, when the owner of Sears and Kmart stores topped forecasts and reversed a loss. Despite that stronger-than-expected performance, the retailer led by Chairman Edward Lampert ¿ who acquired Kmart in 2003 and Sears, Roebuck and Co. in 2005 ¿ has been struggling to control falling same-store sales, an important retail industry metric of sales in stores open at least a year. During the quarter, the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based merchant announced plans to offer a purchase protection program on home appliances to help consumers who lose their job during the recession. The free program covers payments on appliance purchases of more than $399 made on a Sears card. The company also announced plans to relaunch two collections of maternity clothes from retailer Destination Maternity Corp., whose Two Hearts Maternity collection will be available in 600 Sears and Kmart stores in the fall.
BY THE NUMBERS: Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predict a profit of 35 cents per share on revenue of $10.73 billion for the quarter. Last year, Sears earned $65 million, or 50 cents per share, on revenue of $11.76 billion. ANALYST TAKE: Credit Suisse analyst Gary Balter told investors that he expects Sears will surpass Wall Street forecasts as sales improve slightly. And he expects Sears and the Kmart stores to show incremental improvements in same-store 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. WHAT'S AHEAD: Analysts will be paying close attention to any updates the company offers on its ongoing search for someone to take the reins from interim CEO W. Bruce Johnson, who replaced Aylwin Lewis a year and a half ago. STOCK PERFORMANCE: During the quarter, which ended Aug. 1, shares climbed 10 percent to end the period at $66.34. The shares, which had a 52-week range of $26.80 to $108.75, closed Tuesday at $74.41.