Sears will turn profit of at least USD 140 million, despite USD 1.7 billion revenue loss

Struggling Sears Holdings Corp. saw sales in stores open at least a year drop 15.6 % for the fourth quarter — its worst showing for the crucial holiday period since at least 2012.

Sales were down 18.1 % at domestic Sears stores open at least a year and 12.2 % at Kmart stores for the quarter ended Feb. 3, the Hoffman Estates-based retailer said Thursday in a regulatory filing.

The overall drop compared with a decline of 10.3 % in 2016. In 2012, Sears saw a 1.6 % drop in fourth-quarter sales.

However, despite declining same-store sales and an anticipated USD 1.7 billion loss in revenue, Sears said it expects to turn a profit of USD 140 million to USD 240 million for the quarter, due in part to changes in the federal tax code. The company said its results will includes a benefit of USD 445 million to USD 495 million from the tax law that took effect Jan. 1. Sears lost USD 607 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The retailer has been working for years to turn around its business, closing hundreds of stores, selling off real estate and its iconic Craftsman tools brand, and cutting hundreds of corporate jobs. Most recently, Sears announced in January that it was laying off 220 workers, mainly at its Hoffman Estates headquarters.

Sears last year achieved its goal of cutting USD 1.25 billion in costs, but it has continued to tap hundreds of millions of dollars in loans from affiliates of Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments.

Sears shares rose more than 14 % on February 15, to close at USD 2.63.