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Amid losses, Sears points to ‘transformation’

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears Holdings chairman and CEO Edward Lampert beat the drum of “transformation,” as the retailer posted another quarter of declines in consolidated sales and earnings.

The good news: Online and multichannel sales grew 26% over the same quarter last year. And Sears Domestic comp-store sales grew 0.2%.

However, the company’s overall net loss widened to $402 million, compared with $279 million in the first quarter last year. And total revenues (merchandise sales and services) for the retailer that includes Sears and Kmart stores declined 6.8% to $7.88 billion.

"Sears is undergoing a significant transformation, and we fundamentally are changing the way we do business," Lampert said. “We are moving away from a company that was heavily based on selling products solely through a store-based network to a member-centric business model focused on providing benefits to our members anytime and anyplace.” 

The pace of store closings may also increase this year, Lampert said. The company may close more than the 80 stores now being closed, he suggested.

The slight sales growth at Sears Domestic primarily reflects an increase in the home appliances and home categories, the company said. The company saw declines in the lawn and garden, consumer electronics and sporting goods categories, as well as a decline in Sears Auto Centers.

Sears also experienced a revenue decline in Home Services.

At Kmart store, comparable-stores sales were down 2.2% as compared with a 4.6% decline last year.

Earlier this month, the retailer announced it intends to attempt to sell its stake in Sears Canada.

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Safety Works brings compliance to shelves

BY HBSDEALER Staff

With changes in the OSHA rules governing residential construction fall protection for contractors, Safety Works is spreading the word on compliance through creative merchandising and other materials.

Wexford, Pennsylvania-based Safety Works, during the National Hardware Show and elsewhere, distributed its Residential Fall Protection Fact Sheet, which clarified the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s recent changes to the residential construction fall protection regulations for contractors.

One of the main points: Falls are the leading cause of on-the-job deaths among construction workers. 

OSHA recently began enforcing what’s known technically as 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13) for all residential construction work. Among other things, that means that slide guards or safety monitor systems no longer can be substituted for conventional fall protection methods, such as guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems.

Safety Works is helping bring compliance to the shelves.

“We have organized our fall protection products with merchandising that makes selection as easy as A, B, C,” reads the brochure. “A for anchorages, B for body harness and C for connectors — all clearly labeled on the packaging and in the merchandising.

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Setback for patent-troll reform

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Retail Federation is calling the shelving of legislation for patent reform a victory for patent trolls.

The statement came as a response to a Senate Judiciary Committee’s decision this week to remove from its agenda legislation to protect companies from patent trolls.

Retailers particularly are hard hit by companies whose main source of profit is to acquire patents and then threaten to sue companies for infringement, while offering to settle for less than the costs of going to court.

“We are deeply disappointed that groups representing the status quo have continued to stall and stymie attempts at effective patent reform,” wrote NRF senior VP government relations David French.

According to wire reports, heavy lobbying by pharmaceutical and biotechnology interests, as well as trial lawyers, helped derail the bill.

“Even though this is a loss for Main Street merchants, end users will continue to work with those committed to strengthening and reforming our patent system,” French’s statement continued. “Small business owners, retailers, grocers, banks, coffee shops and restaurants need patent relief now, and without Senate action the problem will only grow worse.”

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