Wall Street widely expected dying Sears (SHLD) to deliver another awful quarter on Thursday, but what was received bordered on terrifying for the one-time icon of the retail landscape.
The struggling owner of Sears and Kmart reported a staggering third-quarter adjusted loss of $3.11 a share as it felt intense competitive pressures in businesses such as appliances and apparel from Home Depot (HD) , Lowe's (LOW) , J.C. Penney (JCP) , Best Buy (BBY) and Walmart (WMT) . A year ago, the company delivered a loss of $2.86 a share. Net sales in Sears' fiscal third-quarter plunged 13.8% to $5.0 billion.
The impact of yet another loss could almost be felt in the disheartened statement by Sears' Chairman and CEO Eddie Lampert:
"While many observers have acknowledged the significant asset base of our company, we understand the concerns related to our operating performance and are committed to transforming our company through our 'Shop Your Way' membership program and our integrated retail investments," Lampert said.
Those looking for signs from the third-quarter results that Sears could sidestep a potential bankruptcy filing in 2017, or a major court restructuring, would come up empty.
Same-store sales at discounter Kmart fell 4.4%, representing the eighth straight quarterly decline. Sales were pressed in some of Kmart's most important categories, such as pharmacy, groceries and consumer electronics.
As for Sears, it notched its ninth consecutive same-store sales decline as sales dived a stunning 10%. Weakness was felt across the board for Sears, with sales falling in home appliances, apparel, and consumer electronics.
Perhaps more concerning than the sales declines are the dangerously low cash levels for Sears as it navigates the holidays and interacts with supplierss to place orders for 2017. Cash and equivalents stood $258 million, down from $294 million a year ago.