Sears Third-Quarter Net Loss Widens as Canadian Sales Drop

Sears Holdings Corp., the retailer controlled by hedge-fund manager Edward Lampert, reported a steeper third-quarter loss as sales declined in Canada.

The net loss widened to $421 million, or $3.95 a share, from $218 million, or $1.98, a year earlier, Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears said today in a statement. Sales fell 1.2 percent to $9.57 billion, the 19th straight quarterly decline.

Lampert and new Chief Executive Officer Lou D’Ambrosio are emphasizing smaller stores, online commerce and licensing Sears’s brands to turn around the four-year sales slide. U.S. retailers are having a harder time attracting shoppers, with consumer confidence at the lowest in more than two years and the unemployment rate at 9 percent.

Comparable-store sales for Sears Canada fell 7.8 percent in the quarter, and declines in consumer electronics and apparel at the Kmart chain also hurt results, D’Ambrosio said in the statement. Same-store sales fell 0.7 percent at Sears in the U.S. and 0.9 percent at Kmart. Comparable-store figures include sales from stores open at least 12 months and online sales, which rose 19 percent from the previous year.

D’Ambrosio has a technology background, having led phone-equipment maker Avaya Inc. and serving as an executive at International Business Machines Corp. Since starting in February, he’s put iPads in some stores to help with orders and installed “mobile shopping walls” where customers can scan toys to buy them with their phones.

The quarter included a non-cash charge of $100 million for a valuation allowance against some deferred tax assets.

Sears fell 4.6 percent to $65.19 at the close in New York. The shares have dropped 12 percent this year.