Sears Holdings 3Q 2016: We remain fully committed to restoring profitability to our Company

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., 2016-Dec-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Sears Holdings Corporation (“Holdings,” “we,” “us,” “our,” or the “Company”)(NASDAQ: SHLD) today (Dec. 8. 2016) announced financial results for its third quarter ended October 29, 2016. As a supplement to this announcement, a presentation, pre-recorded conference and audio webcast are available at our website http://searsholdings.com/invest.

In summary, we reported a net loss attributable to Holdings’ shareholders of $748 million ($6.99 loss per diluted share) for the third quarter of 2016 compared to a net loss attributable to Holdings’ shareholders of $454 million ($4.26 loss per diluted share) for the prior year third quarter. Adjusted for significant items noted in our Adjusted Earnings Per Share tables, we would have reported a net loss attributable to Holdings’ shareholders of $333 million ($3.11 loss per diluted share) for the third quarter of 2016 compared to a net loss attributable to Holdings’ shareholders of $305 million ($2.86loss per diluted share) in the prior year third quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $(375) million in the third quarter of 2016, as compared to $(332) million in the prior year third quarter.

Edward S. Lampert, Holdings’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We remain fully committed to restoring profitability to our Company and are taking actions such as reducing unprofitable stores, reducing space in stores we continue to operate (including through the Seritage lease arrangement), reducing investments in underperforming categories and improving gross margin performance and managing expenses relative to sales in key categories. While many observers have acknowledged the significant asset base of our Company, we understand the concerns related to our operating performance and are committed to transforming our Company through our Shop Your Way membership program and our Integrated Retail investments. At the same time, we will continue to explore options to recognize the inherent asset value in a manner that complements our transformation.”

Highlights include:

  • A partnership with Citi Retail Services, Inc. to bring together the Sears MasterCard and Shop Your Way® offer. Starting November 1st, more than five million current Sears MasterCard holders whose cards are linked to the Shop Your Way® program earn more Shop Your Way®points at many of their favorite places and, in early 2017, the Sears MasterCard will evolve into a newly branded Shop Your Way® card;
  • A strategic relationship with Uber Technologies, Inc. that allows its drivers and riders to earn Shop Your Way® points on trips made with Uber, leveraging the scale of Shop Your Way®, its tens of millions of members, and the footprint of Sears Auto Centers to provide unique benefits for drivers and riders; and
  • Improvements in our Home Services business and expansion of its capabilities including our home warranty offerings.

Jason M. Hollar, Holdings’ Chief Financial Officer, said, “We will continue to take actions to generate liquidity, adjust our overall capital structure, and manage our business while meeting all of our financial obligations. Actions may include additional expense reductions, financing transactions and asset monetization including exploring alternatives for our Kenmore®, Craftsman® and DieHard®brands, our Sears Home Services business and our real estate portfolio.”

Financial Results

Revenues decreased approximately $721 million to $5.0 billion for the quarter ended October 29, 2016, compared to revenues of $5.8 billion for the quarter ended October 31, 2015. The year-over-year decline in revenues was primarily driven by having fewer Kmart and Sears Full-line stores in operation, which accounted for $323 million of the decline, as well as a 7.4% decline in comparable store sales during the quarter, which accounted for $304 million of the revenue decline.

At Kmart, comparable store sales decreased 4.4%. While we experienced an overall comparable store sales decline in our Kmart segment driven by declines in the grocery & household, consumer electronics and pharmacy categories, we are encouraged by the comparable store sales increases experienced in several categories this quarter, including apparel, jewelry and outdoor living. Sears Domestic comparable store sales decreased 10.0% during the third quarter of 2016, primarily driven by decreases in the home appliances, apparel and consumer electronics categories.

During the third quarter, gross margin decreased $300 million compared to the prior year third quarter due to the above noted decline in sales, as well as a decline in our gross margin rate in both the Kmart and Sears Domestic segments. The decline in margin rate in both segments was primarily driven by a decline in gross margin performance in the apparel business, as well as an overall increase in markdowns.

Selling and administrative expenses decreased $87 million in the third quarter of 2016 compared to the prior year quarter. Excluding significant items noted in our Adjusted Earnings Per Share tables, selling and administrative expenses declined $224 million, primarily due to a decrease in payroll expense. In addition, advertising expense declined as we shifted away from traditional advertising to the use of Shop Your Way® points awarded to members, the expense for which is included in gross margin.

Financial Position

The Company’s cash balances were $258 million at October 29, 2016 compared with $238 million at January 30, 2016. Short-term borrowings totaled $618 million at the end of the third quarter of 2016 compared to $797 million at January 30, 2016.

Merchandise inventories were $5.0 billion at October 29, 2016, compared to $6.2 billion at October 31, 2015, while merchandise payables were $1.6 billion and $2.3 billion at October 29, 2016 and October 31, 2015, respectively.

At October 29, 2016, we had utilized approximately $1.0 billion of our $1.971 billion revolving credit facility due in 2020 (consisting of $370 million of borrowings and $660 million of letters of credit outstanding). The amount available to borrow under our credit facility was approximately $174 million, which reflects the effect of our springing fixed charge coverage ratio covenant and the borrowing base limitation in our revolving credit facility, which varies primarily based on our overall inventory and receivables balances.

Total long-term debt (including current portion of long-term debt and capital lease obligations) was $3.7 billion and $2.2 billion at October 29, 2016 and January 30, 2016, respectively.

Update on Strategic Initiatives

On May 26, 2016, we announced our intention to explore alternatives for our Kenmore®, Craftsman®and DieHard® brands and our Sears Home Services business by evaluating potential partnerships or other transactions that could expand distribution of our brands and service offerings to realize significant growth. We continue to evaluate opportunities for these businesses. There can be no assurance that we will complete one or more transactions, and we also intend to take actions on our own that present the opportunity to improve the economics of these brands and business, including potential externalization through non-Sears Holdings channels.

Adjusted EBITDA

In addition to our net loss attributable to Sears Holdings’ shareholders determined in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”), for purposes of evaluating operating performance, we use Adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (“Adjusted EBITDA”) and Adjusted Loss Per Share (“Adjusted EPS”), which are non-GAAP measures. The tables attached to this press release provide a reconciliation of GAAP to as adjusted amounts. We believe that our use of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EPS provides an appropriate measure for investors to use in assessing our performance across periods, given that these measures provide adjustments for certain significant items which may vary significantly from period to period, improving the comparability of year-to-year results and is therefore representative of our ongoing performance. Therefore, we have adjusted our results for them to make our statements more useful and comparable. However, we do not, and do not recommend that you, solely use Adjusted EBITDA or Adjusted EPS to assess our financial and earnings performance. We also use, and recommend that you use, diluted loss per share in addition to Adjusted EPS in assessing our earnings performance.

As a result of the Seritage and JV transactions, Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter of 2016 and 2015 included additional rent expense of approximately $48 million and $52 million, respectively, while the first nine months of 2016 and 2015 included additional rent expense of approximately $150 million and $78 million, respectively. Due to the structure of the leases, we expect that our cash rent obligations to Seritage and the joint venture partners will decline, over time, as space in these stores is recaptured. From the inception of the Seritage transaction to date, we have received recapture notices on 17 properties, which is estimated to reduce the rent expense by approximately $10 millionon an annual basis. We have also exercised our right to terminate the lease on 17 properties, which is estimated to reduce rent expense by approximately $6 million on an annual basis.

Forward-Looking Statements

Results are unaudited. This press release contains forward-looking statements intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, but not limited to, statements about our transformation through our integrated retail strategy, our plans to redeploy and reconfigure our assets, our liquidity, our ability to successfully achieve our plans to generate liquidity through potential transactions or otherwise, our intention to explore potential partnerships or other transactions involving our Kenmore®, Craftsman® and DieHard® brands and our Sears Home Services business, and other statements that describe the Company’s plans. Whenever used, words such as “will,” “expect,” and other terms of similar meaning are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements, including these, are based on the current beliefs and expectations of our management and are subject to significant risks, assumptions and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the Company’s control, that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Detailed descriptions of risks, uncertainties and factors relating to Sears Holdings are discussed in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While we believe that our forecasts and assumptions are reasonable, we caution that actual results may differ materially. We intend the forward-looking statements to speak only as of the time made and do not undertake to update or revise them as more information becomes available, except as required by law.

About Sears Holdings Corporation

Sears Holdings Corporation (NASDAQ: SHLD) is a leading integrated retailer focused on seamlessly connecting the digital and physical shopping experiences to serve our members – wherever, whenever and however they want to shop. Sears Holdings is home to Shop Your Way®, a social shopping platform offering members rewards for shopping at Sears and Kmart, as well as with other retail partners across categories important to them. The Company operates through its subsidiaries, including Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation, with full-line and specialty retail stores across the United States. For more information, visit www.searsholdings.com.

NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
Sears Holdings Public Relations
(847) 286-8371

Source: Sears Holdings Corporation

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