The retailer, with some 1,831 Sears and Kmart stores in the U.S., reported a loss of $5.15 a share vs. $5.03 a share a year ago. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation amounted to $296 million. The result was toward the low-end of a $275 million to $325 million adjusted EBITDA loss outlined by Sears on Nov. 7.
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Same-store sales at Sears Domestic declined by 0.7%, worse than the 0.1% fall last year, paced by lackluster sales of consumer electronics, apparel and auto services at Sears Auto Center. Kmart's same-store sales rose 0.5% vs. a 2.1% decline a year ago. The improvement came from greater demand for apparel.
Unlike competitors Walmart (WMT) , Target (TGT) and J.C. Penney (JCP) , Sears provided no update on its holiday sales trends, suggesting sluggish sales and absent profits have continued into the fourth quarter.
Sears made it a point to highlight that adjusted EBITDA was in line with its Nov. 7 guidance. Further, the company waxed poetic that Kmart's same-store sales are on the mend.
But comments by chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert on the pre-recorded earnings call shed light on the challenges the company faces in trying to remain in business. A key rival in the mall, Macy's (M) , now has same-day delivery options in eight major markets. J.C. Penney is expected to launch a same-day delivery service sometimes in 2015. Walmart and Target each continue to seek ways to sell more fresh produce and meats.
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