Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Store closures help lift Sears into profit

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TORONTO -- A big gain on the closure of three high-profile stores allowed Sears Canada Inc. (TSX:SCC) to post a healthy profit in the first quarter even as it continued to struggle with declining sales as it tries to revamp its image.

Sears said Wednesday it swung to profit in the 13 weeks ended April 28 when it earned $93.1 million, or 91 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $47 million or 45 cents per share for the same period last year.

Included in earnings for the quarter was a $164.3-million pre-tax gain on lease terminations of stores in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa.

Sears Canada has been cutting jobs, slashing prices, decluttering stores and refocusing sales efforts on money-making items to lure more customers in a competitive Canadian retail market.

Despite recent marketing efforts, revenue in the quarter slipped 7.8 per cent from a year earlier to $915.1 million from $992.5 million, including a decrease of 6.3 per cent in same store sales.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 17, 2012 B9

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