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Sears narrows Q4 loss


Hoffman Estates, Ill. -- Sears Holding Corp. said its net loss for the quarter ended on Feb. 2 narrowed to $489 million from $2.4 billion a year earlier. Total costs dropped 2.2% to $12.88 billion in the fourth quarter.

Revenue declined 1.8% to $12.26 billion, but beat analysts' average estimate of $11.77 billion.

Sears results came weeks after the company’s chairman and largest shareholder, Edward Lampert, took the reins as CEO in the wake of the departure of Louis D'Ambrosio, who resigned for a family-related health problem.

Sears domestic's comparable-store sales improved 0.8% in the fourth quarter and declined 1.4% for the year. Kmart's same-store store sales declined 3.7% in the fourth quarter and for the year. Sears Canada's comparable store sales declined 3.8% in the fourth quarter and 5.6% for the year.

The company’s online business grew over 25% in fourth quarter 2012 and 17% for the full year.

"Sears Holdings made progress in 2012 improving the profitability of our business, but we know there's more work to be done in 2013," said Lampert. "Our focus continues to be on our core customers, our members, and finding ways to provide them value and convenience through Integrated Retail and our Shop Your Way Membership platform. We have invested significantly in our online ecommerce platforms, our membership rewards program and the technology needed to support these initiatives."

In a letter to shareholders, employees and customers, Lampert emphasized improvements the chain has made, including improved clothing sales and its growing loyalty program.

“We demonstrated that the operating performance of the company, while significantly below what it should be, was not on a continued downward trajectory,” Lampert wrote.

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