Sears swings to profit in first quarter

Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holdings posted net income of $189 million in the quarter, compared with a loss of $165 million in the prior-year period.

After several rounds of closings of Kmart and Sears full-line stores in the past months, revenues decreased $270 million to $9.3 billion for the quarter ended April 28. Domestic comp-store sales declined 1.3% -- 1.0% at Sears Domestic and 1.6% at Kmart. Sears also saw declines in its home appliances and consumer electronics categories.

But the company’s gross margin rate in 2012 improved 100 basis points over the prior year quarter, and CEO Lou D’Ambrosio described the results as “progress toward restoring profit growth and transforming our company." 

D’Ambrosio pointed to the company’s three core priorities: financial and operational discipline, improvement of core retail operations, and a third priority that he described with this phrase: “leading customer-based innovation through integrated retail and an engaging membership program, Shop Your Way Rewards.”

Sears operates more than 3,900 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada.

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