ATLANTA Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD.O) reported a
47.5 percent decline in quarterly profit on Thursday on
increased markdowns and lower sales at its Kmart and Sears
The retailer controlled by hedge fund manager Edward
Lampert said earnings fell to $426 million, or $3.17 a share,
in the fourth quarter ended on February 2, from $811 million,
or $5.27 a share, a year earlier.
Revenue fell to $15.07 billion from $16.18 billion.
Sales at stores open at least a year fell 4.5 percent
companywide, with declines of 4 percent at U.S. Sears stores
and 5.2 percent at Kmart.
Higher markdowns to clear excess inventory hurt gross
margin, which fell to 27.7 percent from 29.7 percent a year
Sears Holdings, which is searching for a chief executive
and seeking to reorganize its operations, warned in mid-January
that quarterly profit would decline.
The Hoffman Estates, Illinois, retailer competes against a
host of chains, including J.C. Penney Co (JCP.N) in clothing
and Wal-Mart Stores (WMT.N) and other discounters in general
merchandise. Home Depot (HD.N) and Lowe's Cos (LOW.N) have
chipped away at Sears' dominant market share in appliances.
Some Sears executives have departed recently. Last week,
the company said two longtime employees, one of which headed up
its key appliance division, had retired.
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)