TORONTO - Sears Canada Inc. said profits remained steady in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier as one-time items offset a decline in sales during the holiday shopping season.
The Toronto-based retailer reported Wednesday it had $39.9 million of net earnings or 39 cents per share in the 14-week period ended Feb. 2.
The results were practically unchanged from a year earlier when the company had $41 million of net income during a shorter, 13-week period ended January 28, 2012.
However, revenue and same-store sales declined in the important holiday shopping period. The national retailer's revenue fell to just under $1.3 billion — down about $60 million from a year earlier.
Same-store sales fell 3.8 per cent from a year earlier.
President and chief executive Calvin McDonald said the company, which is in the midst of attempting a major turnaround, continues to push ahead with its three-year transformation plan.
"Although sales were lower than (the same time) last year, our same-store sales performance in the fourth quarter improved over the three prior quarters," he said in a release.
"Home electronics and Craftsman, which includes snowblowers and hardware, contributed to the majority of our sales decline."
The retailer's profit in the latest quarter received support from two special items — a $21.1-million gain related to a voluntary buyout program and an $8.6-million gain related to the sale of its share of a joint venture.
Adjusted earnings, excluding those and several other items, fell to $62.4 million from $101.8 million.
Sears Canada shares were down 3.87 per cent, or 36 cents, at $8.94 Wednesday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Earlier on HuffPost:
The iconic American upscale retailer is in talks with Hudson's Bay Company to become a "store within a store" at HBC locations in Canada. The move is seen as an attempt by The Bay to fight off the possible arrival of Nordstrom's (see next slide).
One of the most prominent competitors to Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom announced in September, 2012, that it plans to open locations in Cadillac Fairview-owned malls in Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver. The stores will open in former Sears locations.
Discount retailer Marshalls entered the Canadian market in March, 2011, and recently announced an expansion of six new stores in Ontario. At least a dozen of its 750 stores are now located in Canada.
The home improvement retailer began moving into the Canadian market in 2007, with a store in Hamilton, Ontario. It has since expanded to 31 locations in Ontario and Alberta.
Ritzy fashion chain J. Crew opened its first Canadian location in the summer of 2011, and immediately ran into public anger about the U.S.-Canada price gap. Shoppers complained that J. Crew's Canadian prices were about 15 per cent higher than in the U.S.
The arrival of Target to Canada in 2013 is easily the most hotly-anticipated retail arrival since Walmart came north of the border in 1994. The discount retailer is planning more than 100 stores across the country, having taken over a significant number of Zellers locations. But the store is currently engaged in a labour dispute, as it tries to keep former Zellers employees from unionizing in the new stores.