Sears' loss and falling revenue beat forecasts. Dollar General did the opposite. It remains determined to buy Family Dollar. Fred Katayama reports.
Sears can't snap out of its slump, but it made investors a little happier today. Its quarterly loss widened as what was once America's largest retailer made less money on the consumer electronics products and home appliances it sold. Revenue fell for the 12th straight quarter, hurt by the separation of its Lands End business and closures of some of its Kmart and Sears stores. But the company managed to cut costs, and the loss and revenue both beat analysts forecasts. Sears' shares, down more than 7 percent this year, bounced back in early trading. Evercore ISI senior analyst Greg Melich said, "With the closure or planned closure of 235 stores, operating results are declining at a slower rate, but Sears Holdings is far from being on a path of recovery." Dollar General, the nation's largest deep-discount retailer, did the opposite, slightly missing Wall Street's targets on both profit and revenue. It made a little less money in the latest quarter because it marked down prices to clear inventory, and while food sales were strong, they command thinner profit margins. Sales rose nearly 8 percent. But Dollar General showed less momentum than Dollar Tree, which boosted quarterly profit and saw faster sales growth. Dollar General is locked in a showdown with Dollar Tree in a fight to buy Family Dollar. Dollar General said it remains determined to buy Family Dollar, which had earlier rejected its offer in favor of a lesser bid from Dollar Tree.