Sears Canada loss widens as sales fall

Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:11am EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Sears Canada Inc (SCC.TO: Quote) reported a wider loss in what the Canadian retailer called a difficult quarter on Wednesday, as sales at established stores dropped again.

Sales of outdoor power equipment fell off with the onset of warm, dry weather in many areas of Canada, and the company said its weekend business is underperforming.

Same-store sales, an important measure for retailers, dropped 7.1 percent in the second quarter ended July 28, following a 5.8 percent decline in the same quarter last year.

"While we are not pleased with our quarterly sales results, we continued to implement key transformation initiatives," said Chief Executive Calvin McDonald in a release.

McDonald is one year into his three-year turnaround plan, which includes refocusing on categories in which Sears is strongest.

The company said sales rose in two of those categories, major appliances and mattresses. Weekday sales of regularly priced merchandise also rose.

Sears Canada has 197 corporate stores, 276 dealer locations and 20 "home service showrooms" across the country. In March the company said it would shut three major downtown stores in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa, raising capital to revamp stores in other locations.

Canadian retailers are facing tough competition as Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote) expands in the country, and the market will heat up further when Target Corp (TGT.N: Quote) opens its first Canadian stores in spring 2013.

The company, majority-owned by Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD.O: Quote), said net loss was C$9.8 million ($9.9 million), or 10 Canadian cents per share, compared with a loss of C$200,000, or break even per share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 9 percent to C$1.05 billion for the quarter.

($1 = $0.99 Canadian)

(Reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto and Shounak Dasgupta in Bangalore; Editing by Akshay Lodaya and Frank McGurty)