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Sears moves to a loss as sales continue to falter

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HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. - Sears fell to a loss during the second quarter with perpetually weak sales overshadowing the retailer’s efforts to cut costs and lower its cash burn.

CEO Edward Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments, will forward the ailing chain $300 million in additional debt financing.

Tradition retailers like Sears (SHLD) have had a hard time keeping up with a rapid shift to online shopping.

For the period ended July 30, Sears lost $395 million, or $3.70 per share, for the period ended July 30. A year ago Sears Holdings Corp. earned $208 million, or $1.84 per share.

Losses, adjusted for one-time costs, were $2.03 per share.

Revenue for the Hoffman Estates, Illinois, company dropped to $5.66 billion from $6.21 billion.

Total sales at stores open at least a year declined 5.2 percent.

Sales at Kmart locations open at least a year fell 3.3 percent, while Sears same-store sales tumbled 7 percent. This figure is a key indicator of a retailer’s health because it excludes volatility from locations recently opened or closed.

Sears has dealt with weak sales for years, unable to keep up with companies that sell appliances, like Home Depot, or general merchandise, like Wal-Mart, or everything, like

Chief Financial Officer Rob Schriesheim -- who is planning to leave the company once a replacement is found but will remain as an adviser through January 2017 -- said in a written statement that Sears continues to look at options for its Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Sears Home Services businesses by evaluating possible partnerships or other transactions. Sears previously said that it believes the Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands can grow significantly with an expanded presence outside of Sears and Kmart.

The chain has been selling assets to raise cash and speeding up store closings. The store closures come as Sears tries to shift its focus from running a store network to a member-focused business. Loyal shoppers receive incentives to buy, but those moves haven’t gained much traction with consumers. 

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