Sears Canada shares down on Target's entry plans, weak results
(Reuters) - Department store chain Sears Canada Inc (SCC.TO) reported a fall in revenue for the 16th straight quarter on a day when Target Corp (TGT.N) said it would open its first 24 Canadian stores by April, intensifying competition in an already crowded market.
Shares of Sears Canada, 51 percent owned by U.S.-based Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD.O), fell as much as 4 percent to a two-year low of C$8.88 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Sears Canada said on Wednesday its revenue for the November-January quarter, which includes the critical holiday shopping season, fell 5 percent to C$1.29 billion.
Sales at established stores fell 3.8 percent on lower sales of home electronics and snowblowers.
Department stores in Canada and the United States are struggling with declining sales of electronics as they face increasing competition from online retailers.
In addition, Canadian retail sales plunged 2.1 percent in December in a weak Christmas shopping season, Statistics Canada said on Friday. Department store sales fell 9.6 percent.
Sears Canada is also facing increasing competition as U.S. retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) expand their Canadian operations and new ones like Target enter the country.
To compete with the new entrants and to reclaim lost market share, Sears Canada announced a three-year plan in 2012 that includes making radical changes to its pricing strategies and sprucing up stores.
However, Chief Executive Calvin McDonald said last month he was not entirely happy with the company's progress in the 19 months since he took the top job.
Target and Wal-Mart Stores continue to be bullish on the Canadian market despite the falling sales at Sears Canada and Canadian Tire Corp (CTCa.TO). Same-store sales at Canadian Tire fell 1.1 percent in the quarter ended December 29.
Sears Canada said fourth-quarter profit fell about 3 percent to C$39.9 million ($38.8 million), or 39 Canadian cents per share. The number included a pretax gain of C$29.7 million from a voluntary buyout program and the sale of a joint venture interest.
Sears Canada shares have fallen 21 percent in the year ended January, while the broader S&P TSX Canadian consumer discretionary index .GSPTTCD has risen 20 percent during the same period.
(Reporting by Krithika Krishnamurthy in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian and Sreejiraj Eluvangal)
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