Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores reported discouraging preliminary figures for its fourth quarter and full year ended Feb. 1, 2014.
Bruce Johnson, president and CEO, acknowledged that the results were disappointing, most notably in the Hometown and Hardware segment, where weaker-than-expected holiday sales had an impact. Additionally, severe winter weather did not help the company's cause, he added.
Net sales for the 13-week period were $602.5 million, down 4.5% year-over-year. Sears' coffers took a greater hit at the bottom line, where a $3.7 million net income marked a 61.5% decrease compared to the fourth quarter of 2013.
For the full year ended Feb. 1, sales totaled $2.4 billion, down 1.31%. However, at $35.6 million, net income was nearly half that of 2013's $60.1 million.
Johnson noted that SHO made progress on four key strategic initiatives last quarter. The company opened 30 stores that have performed according to expectations. Additionally, 19 SHO-operated stores were converted to independent dealer and franchisee-operated models. Online and multichannel sales achieved double-digit year-over-year growth, with quarterly sales up nearly 80% at SearsOutlet.com.
"New Outlet sourcing initiatives began to shift our inventory positions in furniture, apparel, and, most importantly, out-of-box appliances, to products that we are confident, when this mix shift is fully realized in 2014, will deliver higher overall merchandise margins than in the fourth quarter of 2013," he added.