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Sears to lay off 5,000 workers, close 100 stores

BY HBSDealer Staff

A report in Seeking Alpha Thursday revealed that Sears Holdings was planning on laying off at least 5,457 workers before the holidays, as well as closing more than 100 stores.

Sears spokesman Howard Riefs did not respond to Seeking Alpha’s request for comment, though his name was on the bottom of the liquidation sale notices obtained by local media.

According to findings based on inquires with store managers and reporters, the closures will include 46 Kmart, 30 Sears and 31 Sears Auto Center locations, concentrated the most in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana, according to the report.

A subsequent USA Today article reported that a Sears spokesman disputed the accuracy of the Seeking Alpha report. 

The retailer has already closed 96 other locations in the first half of the year, and it has sustained losses of more than $1.8 billion over the last year.

The news is the latest in an ongoing saga of cost-cutting measures, preceded most recently by the retailer’s announcement last week that it would lease out seven stores to Primark.

Other money-saving moves have included the divestment of its majority stake in Sears Canada and a short-term $400 million loan borrowed from CEO Edward Lampert’s hedge fund.

Earlier this month, Sears also denied claims that its vendors were cancelling shipments.

For a list of store closures, click here.

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HCN Stock Watch: LL down 9.14%

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Shares of Lumber Liquidators dropped 9.14% Wednesday after the retailer released its third quarter earnings, which fell below economists’ expectations.

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Tractor Supply locks down double-digit gains

BY HBSDealer Staff

For Tractor Supply Company, the third quarter was business as usual, which meant double-digit sales gains for the leading farm-and-ranch retail chain.

Additionally, the company is raising its fiscal 2014 outlook to the high ends of the existing ranges of $5.62 billion to $5.70 billion in net sales, as well as $2.54 to $2.62 in diluted earnings per share.

"We had a solid third quarter and are pleased with our results," said president and CEO Gregory Sandfort. "Our sales growth was broad-based and well-balanced across our chain of stores and throughout the quarter. Once again, the team did a great job managing product assortments and inventory levels to address seasonal trends and external factors."

Net sales for the three months ended Sept. 27 were up 12.6% to $1.36 billion, up from $1.21 billion in 2013.

Meanwhile, comparable store sales were up 5.6% — on top of last year's 7.5% increase — and were driven by increases in both traffic and ticket. This, according to Sandfort, led in turn to a strong boost in sales, operating margin and earnings. This quarter marked the 26th consecutive quarter of positive comp transaction counts, the company noted.

Net income was also up to $76.6 million for the quarter, compared to $64.8 million in the third quarter of 2013.

Tractor Supply opened 30 new stores this quarter; there were 23 new store openings in the third quarter of 2013.

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