HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill.-Healthy boosts in sales and gross margin propelled Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores to a positive end to its fiscal year.
Net income in the fourth quarter ending on Feb. 2 was $9.7 million, up 22.2 percent from the fourth quarter of last year. This brought net income for the year to $60.1 million, an increase of 81.8 percent.
Net sales in the quarter rose 6.8 percent to $631.2 million, including a decline in same-store sales of 0.5 percent. Bruce Johnson, president and CEO of Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, said appliances and mattresses helped lead the way in terms of sales, with declines in consumer electronics (which the retailer is in the process of exiting) offsetting the increases in other categories. Net sales for the year were up 4.7 percent to $2.5 billion, with same-store sales up 0.6 percent.
Fourth-quarter gross margin gained 138 basis points to finish at 24.8 percent, thanks to the absence of charges for store closings and severances taken in the fourth quarter of 2011, reduced occupancy costs and higher delivery margins. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 10.8 percent in dollars and 79 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 21.6 percent.
Johnson said Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores’ ongoing exit from consumer electronics will open shelf space for “more productive merchandise categories” during the current quarter