Sears shares up after results trend better, Lampert to take over

Tue Jan 8, 2013 9:16am EST

Jan 8 (Reuters) - Shares of Sears Holdings Corp rose 2.6 percent in premarket trading Tuesday after the company reported preliminary results that topped some forecasts and said Chairman Edward Lampert would take over as CEO from Louis D'Ambrosio.

"Preliminary results for its fourth quarter, which showed improvement over third-quarter trends ... were in line to slightly better than our model," said analyst Gary Balter of Credit Suisse.

Sears' domestic comparable-store sales for the nine weeks ended Dec. 29 fell 1.8 percent, the company said on Monday.

Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments, had a 34.14 percent stake in Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears as of Nov. 30, according to Thomson Reuters data.

"At the end of the day, there is only one person who makes the big decisions ... and that person is Mr. Lampert," Balter said. "Giving him an additional title does not change that reality and, in our opinion, does not change the direction of the company."

Sears faces stiff competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Target Corp, especially in areas such as electronics. While Sears' Kmart discount chain has managed to keep some budget-conscious U.S. shoppers, the Sears chain has been losing market share in appliances and apparel.

Sears shares were at $44 in premarket trading, up from a Monday close at $42.92. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Chicago)

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