Sears Holdings still positive despite negative Q3
Sears Holdings remains positive about its future despite reporting a wider loss for the third quarter and comps declines across its retail segments. The company reported a net loss of $421 million, or $3.95 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2011, compared with a net loss of $218 million, or $1.98 loss per diluted share, in 2010.
Comparable-store sales at Sears’ U.S. stores were down 0.7%. According to the company, the decrease in sales at Sears domestic for the quarter was due to poor performance in appliances and consumer electronics. Kmart comps dropped 0.9% for the quarter, which was due to a decrease and pharmacy, apparel and home. Comps fell 7.8% at Sears’ Canada stores.
Lou D’Ambrosio, Sears Holdings’ CEO and president, said, "While we are not satisfied with our performance, we saw improvement in some core areas. Sears full-line stores saw improvement, as Sears apparel achieved both comparable store sales and margin rate increases in the quarter. We also saw nearly 20% growth in our domestic online business, and while appliance sales declined in the quarter, we improved our market leadership positions in overall appliances and Kenmore. Despite improvement in these areas, our overall results were down, led by declines in Sears Canada, consumer electronics and Kmart apparel."
While the company’s sales were disappointing, Sears Holdings remains optimistic about its potential.
"We believe it is becoming more and more obvious that the future of retail will revolve around the seamless integration of online and offline experiences. Sears Holdings has the combination of assets that will allow us to play a large and important role in bringing these experiences to all Americans through integrated retail," said D’Ambrosio.
Stanley sharpens its utility blade offering
Stanley introduced a new carbide utility blade that it says lasts more than five times longer than competing blades.
The key to the product is Carbide Blade Technology, which provides increased blade life, maintains first-cut sharpness and offers snap resistance.
“The introduction of the new Stanley Carbide blades represents a strong commitment to innovation that began with extensive field research with professional contractors who rely on our products every day,” said Bob Scillia, leader of Stanley’s Cutting & Clamping Business Unit. “By lasting significantly longer than other blades on the market, we’re confident our new utility blades will meet contractors’ needs and lead to greater productivity on the job site.”
Stanley’s Carbide Utility Blades are uniquely manufactured by way of a patent-pending process that uses high-powered laser technology to deposit tungsten carbide powder onto the edge of every blade.
Diamond wheels are then used to grind a sharp finished angle on each Carbide blade. This high-speed process creates a durable and long-lasting edge while maintaining a flexible steel blade body.
The blades are expected to retail in packs of five (11-800) for approximately $4.99, packs of 10 (11-800T) for $7.99, and packs of 50 (11-800L) for $24.99.
Lowe’s employees get on the iPhone
According to Lowe’s Rick Damron, executive VP store operations, the Mooresville, N.C.-based retail giant has rolled out iPhones to more than 60% of its stores, where they’re used as sales tools and scanners.
The mobile devices customized with retail applications and based on Apple’s iPhone technology are expected to be rolled out to all stores by the end of the year.
Speaking during the Lowe’s third-quarter earnings conference, Damron said the intuitive devices are the first technology rollout that didn’t require training manuals.
"The feedback from our stores on all of these upgrades has been highly positive for one simple reason," he said. "Associates feel they are better equipped to serve customers.”
Damron said each store has about 25 of the iPhone devices. Because employees no longer have to walk to a fixed terminal about 400 times a day, it makes them more productive, he said.