Sears Holdings Corp., the retailer controlled by hedge fund manager Edward Lampert , reported first-quarter net income of $189 million after sellingstores and said it would partially spin off its Canadianoperations. The profit of $1.78 a share in the quarter ended April 28 compareswith a net loss of $170 million, or $1.58, a year earlier, HoffmanEstates, Illinois-based Sears said Thursday in a statement. Profitin the most recent quarter included a $233 million after-tax gainfrom asset sales. Revenue fell 2.8 percent to $9.27 billion. |
Lampert, a Greenwich resident, and Chief Executive Officer Lou D'Ambrosio , are looking to asset sales and other sources of revenue togenerate cash as Sears's main department-store business losesground to rivals including Macy's Inc. Sears is spinning off about1,250 smaller-format stores while selling other locations and hashired a licensing agent for its proprietary brands. First-quarter sales at stores open at least a year fell 1 percentat U.S. Sears stores and 1.6 percent at Kmart, hurt by declines inappliances and consumer electronics, Sears said earlier this month.Sales of clothing at the Sears stores rose at least 10 percent inthe quarter, the company said. Sears rose 3.05 percent to $52.42 in trading on Nasdaq Thursday asof 4 p.m.
Before today, the shares had gained 60 percent this year. Lampert, who is chairman of Sears, disclosed that his controllingstake in Sears Holdings Corp. declined to 43 million shares as ofMarch 31 from 48 million shares as of Dec. 31. The decline may stemfrom changes in Lampert's management contracts with clients ratherthan outright sales, which he would have had to disclose during thequarter in insider reports.
He acquired Sears through an $11.9 billion merger with KmartHolding Corp. in 2005. Lampert took advantage of surging stock prices during the firstquarter to cut stakes that his hedge fund holds in Capital OneFinancial Corp., CIT Group Inc. and Seagate Technology Plc , according to a Form 13 filed Tuesday with the U.S. Securities andExchange Commission.
Sears said Thursday in a separate statement that it will conduct apartial spinoff of Sears Canada that would reduce its stake in theunit to 51 percent from 95 percent.
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