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Sears Canada sees red ink in Q1

Toronto - Despite improvements in the bed, bath, apparel and accessories categories, sales at Sears Canada declined during the first quarter and the retailer swung to a net loss.
The net loss for the quarter ended May 4 was $31.2C million, or 31 cents per share, compared to net income in the year ago quarter of $93.1C million, or 91 cents per share.
Sales fell 6.6% to $867.1C million, with same-store sales down 2.6%.
Calvin McDonald, president and ceo, said the company was encouraged by improvements in the soft lines business.
"We are continuing to make progress in our transformation, and we believe the growth in apparel and accessories is an indicator that we are on the right track," he added. "At the same time our rate management initiatives have positively impacted gross margin by 50 basis points, while our focus on controlling costs has reduced expenses by 7.9% compared to the same period last year. Factoring out the gains from the return of the three leases to the landlord last year, we are seeing an overall improvement in our bottom line for the quarter as compared to the first quarter last year.

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