Shares of Sears Holding Corporation (NASDAQOTH:SHLDQ) were tumbling last month after the always-volatile department store chain saw investors continue to lose confidence in the stock. According to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, the stock fell 28% in May.
As the chart below shows, most of the slide came in the second week of May as the stock fell on weak reports by its department store peers.
The slide started on May 11 as Sears stock fell 10% after rival Macy's posted disappointing comparable sales growth and a slimmer profit than expected. Sears shares continued to fall sharply over the next two sessions amid downbeat reports from other department store peers and as investor worries grew about Sears' own earnings report toward the end of the month.
The problems continued as Sears CEO Eddie Lampert went on a bizarre rant against the media and suppliers in a rare interview accusing them of undermining his business and reporting that it was headed toward bankruptcy.
Later in the month, the stock recovered briefly as the company reported a narrower loss than expected, and even had a profit when including the sale of its Craftsman tools brand. However, comparable sales still fell sharply in the quarter as Sears' underlying problems did not appear much different. By the end of the month, the stock had given back all of those gains.
So far in June, the stock has continued to slide as the company announced even more store closings. Management said it would close 72 stores, in addition the 180 it had already shuttered. The news did not seem to provoke any significant sell-off in the stock as investors have cutting costs and closing weaker stores, but it underscores the reality that Sears is in constant decline.
It hasn't reported an annual operating profit since 2010, its stores are in disarray, and comparable sales are falling around 10% almost every quarter. Considering the challenges in the overall department store sector, there seems little reason to bet on a Sears comeback. I'd expect more months like this one from the ailing retailer.