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Sears Hometown & Outlet Stores narrows net loss in fiscal Q2

Illinois-based home appliances retailer Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. said Sept. 7 that its net loss for the fiscal second quarter narrowed to $9.3 million from a loss of $29.4 million a year prior.

For the 13 weeks ended Aug. 4, the company reported a loss per share of 41 cents, improving from a loss of $1.30 per share in the in the year-ago period.

Net sales for the fiscal quarter were $431 million, down from $490 million in the previous year. Meanwhile, comparable store sales ticked up 0.9%, an improvement from the 10.5% decrease in comparable store sales reported for the first fiscal quarter.

The company also recorded a $7.6 million charge related to the planned closure of 109 underperforming Hometown stores, including $800,000 in closed-store impairment charges. As of the end of the fiscal second quarter, 98 of the stores had been shuttered, with the remaining 11 expected to follow in the fiscal third quarter. Meanwhile, 22 Hometown stores were remodeled and converted to a new Core Store format that builds on the retailer's "appliance experts" program.

In addition, Sears Hometown said it opened one store under the Buddy's Home Furnishings rent-to-own banner during the period, bringing the total openings since January up to six. It has been launching Buddy's stores as a franchisee, and plans to open three more before the end of its fiscal year.

Sears Hometown was spun off from Sears Holdings Corp. in 2012 and is controlled by Sears Holdings CEO Edward Lampert, his hedge fund ESL Investments and related companies.