Third-quarter sales at Sears Holiday declined 4.7%, but company officials reported seeing some signs of progress most notably the increase of quarterly comparable store sales at Kmart primarily driven by home products sales.
Total revenue for the quarter ended October 31 was $10.2 billion, down from revenue of $10.7 billion in the comparable quarter the previous year. According to the company, the decrease was primarily due to lower comparable store sales and 56 fewer Kmart and Sears full-line stores, partially offset by an increase of $42 million due to the impact of foreign currency exchange rates.
Domestic comparable store sales declined 2.3% in the aggregate for the quarter, and included an increase at Kmart of 0.5%, offset by a decline at Sears Domestic of 4.6%. The Kmart quarterly increase in comparable store sales was primarily driven by the toys and home categories, as well as the impact of assuming the operations of its footwear business from a third party effective January 2009. Declines in sales for the quarter at Sears Domestic include decreases in the home appliance, lawn & garden, tools and home electronics categories, although sales in the home appliance category declined to a lesser degree as compared to previous quarters this year.
“We saw some encouraging signs of progress in the third quarter,” said W. Bruce Johnson, Sears Holding’ interim CEO/President. “Comparable store sales increased at Kmart and the decline in sales at Sears moderated during the quarter. Additionally, we increased margin rates and reduced selling and administrative expenses by $101 million. As we approach this important selling season, we are focused on executing our holiday strategy and meeting our customers’ needs.”