HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears, stung by higher charges, reported a wider fourth-quarter loss, but its adjusted loss was smaller than last year and investors were elated as the department store closely controlled inventory and expenses.
Wall Street looked past falling comparable-store sales as well, and shares rose more than 5 percent in Thursday premarket trading.
For the period ended Jan. 28, the Hoffman Estates company, which also owns Kmart, lost $607 million, or $5.67 per share. That compares with a loss of $580 million, or $5.44 per share, a year ago.
Impairment charges climbed to $409 million, from $203 million.
Losses, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were $1.28 per share, or 42 cents better than last year on a per-share basis.
Revenue declined to $6.05 billion from $7.3 billion.
Sales at Sears and Kmart stores open at least a year, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, dropped 10.3 percent.
Sears same-store sales slid 12.3 percent, mostly hurt by falling sales of appliances, clothing, consumer electronics and tools. At Kmart stores, comparable-store sales fell 8 percent, mostly because of softer sales of consumer electronics, toys, clothing and grocery and household items.
Chief Financial Officer Jason Hollar said in a company release that a challenging holiday season pressured margins and same-store sales, but that Sears Holding Corp. improved profitability by watching its inventory and managing costs.
The company’s merchandise inventories shrunk to $4 billion, from $5.2 billion a year earlier. Total costs and expenses declined to $6.77 billion, from $7.84 billion.