* Same-store sales in 9 weeks to Dec. 29 drop 5.8 pct
* Sears Canada aims for turnaround ahead of Target debut
TORONTO Jan 8 Sears Canada Inc's
parent said sales at the Canadian chain's established
department stores fell 5.8 percent in the nine weeks to the end
of December, a performance likely to hold back results for the
quarter that included the holiday season.
The parent, Sears Holdings Corp, disclosed the
sales figures late on Monday as it announced in a statement that
its chief executive would step down. Its shares rose 2.3 percent
before regular trading hours on Tuesday.
It also said it expected the company as a whole to show
higher adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation
and amortization (EBITDA) in its fiscal fourth quarter.
But the retailer expects all of the improvement to come from
its domestic business, as it sees Sears Canada's fourth-quarter
adjusted EBITDA falling by about half.
Results at Sears Canada were hurt by weaker earnings from
electronics, as well as "unseasonably warm temperatures in parts
of Canada," the company said.
Sears Canada is struggling to turn around its business ahead
of U.S. discount retailer Target Corp's Canadian launch
this spring, expected to shake up the retail landscape.
Chief Executive Calvin McDonald has said his turnaround plan
- which in part involves refocusing on the company's stronger
categories such as mattresses and major appliances - is working,
albeit more slowly than expected.
In the third quarter to Oct. 27, Sears Canada same-store
sales, a key measure for retailers, dropped 5.7 percent,
following a 7.8 percent decline in the same quarter a year
In November, Sears Holdings trimmed its stake in the
Canadian unit from about 95 percent to 51 percent, distributing
the stock to Sears Holdings shareholders.