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Sears posts US$454 million third-quarter loss as store sales slump

[NEW YORK] Sears Holdings Corp, the retailer run by hedge-fund manager Edward Lampert, posted a US$454 million third- quarter loss as its shrinking store base hurt sales.

The net loss of US$4.26 a share compares with a loss of US$548 million, or US$5.15, a year earlier, the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company said in a statement Thursday.

The results show Sears has a ways to go to returning to profitability. Mr Lampert has spun off assets and sold stores, leaving a stripped-down retailer that continues to post declining same-store sales. Sears also is suffering from problems that are ailing the whole industry, including slowing mall traffic and consumers who are choosing to save more and to spend on experiences and services instead of goods.

"Sears has very weak company-specific fundamentals, but now you're combining that with an industry backdrop across the department-store space that's also quite bad," said Matt McGinley, an analyst at Evercore ISI.

Sears shares fell 6 per cent to US$20.41 in New York Wednesday. The stock has declined 32 per cent this year.