* Says to look for a partner for C$4.4 billion credit card portfolio
* Second-quarter earnings C$1.91 per share vs C$1.63 year-ago
* Revenue rises 1 pct
Aug 8 (Reuters) - Canadian Tire Corp, best known for its automotive and homeware stores, said it would seek a financial partner for its C$4.4 billion credit card portfolio to reduce funding risks.
The company did not provide details but said the proposed partnership would help it in its efforts to integrate its financial services business with its retail operations.
“As a result of that work, we are now well-positioned to explore an arrangement that would allow us to increase our financial flexibility while continuing to enjoy the substantial contributions of our financial services business,” Chief Executive Stephen Wetmore said in a statement on Thursday.
The company said it expects any such partnership to have little impact on jobs and existing operations.
Canadian Tire’s financial services business contributed 8.4 percent to its total revenue of C$3.02 billion in the quarter ended June.
The company, which said in May that it would create a real estate investment trust through an initial public offering in the fall of 2013, also named the two top executives for the trust.
Canadian Tire appointed Ken Silver, who has been with the company for more than 20 years and has been managing its real estate portfolio, as chief executive of the REIT. Louis Forbes has been named the chief financial officer. He joins from Primaris, a Canadian REIT.
The retailer reported a 16 percent rise in second-quarter profit as higher sales in its namesake stores boosted margins.
Net income rose to C$154.9 million ($148.6 million), or C$1.91 per share. Revenue increased 1 percent.
Canadian Tire stores sell items such as bicycles and skates alongside home and automotive products. Same-store sales in this business rose 2 percent in the quarter.
The company also owns menswear chain Mark’s and sporting goods stores Sports Chek and Sports Experts as well as gas stations. Nearly 90 percent of Canadians live within 15 minutes of one of its stores, according to the company.
Same-store sales at Mark’s increased 6.4 percent.
Overall, gross margins improved 4.2 percent to C$758.2 million due to less discounting and a favorable mix of products, Canadian Tire said.