Index futures are pointing to a positive start for the stock market today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) set to rise by 40 points at the opening bell. This is a busy day for retailers reporting earnings, and Sears Holdings (NASDAQOTH:SHLDQ), Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), and Target (NYSE:TGT) all stepped up to the plate this morning.
Sears booked a $534 million loss for the third quarter as sales dove by almost $600 million to $8.3 billion, below Wall Street's expectations. However, the $2.88 per-share loss was better than the $3.13 that analysts had anticipated. Revenue was hit by store closings, but also by shrinking sales at existing locations: comps fell 2.1% at Kmart and 4% at Sears locations. Operating loss actually widened from 2012's terrible result, growing from $428 million last year to $497 million in the quarter that just closed. On the plus side, Sears did manage to work down inventory levels and boost its liquidity position. Still, with customer traffic shrinking across almost all its business categories, the retailer appears to have a long road of losses ahead. Sears' stock is up 3% in premarket trading.
Abercrombie & Fitch announced adjusted earnings of $0.52 a share on sales of $1 billion. Comparable store sales dove by 14% as the retailer's branded clothing continued to sell poorly. Worse yet, the company gave a depressing outlook for the fourth quarter: comps are expected to fall hard again, and Abercrombie is bracing for a "significant" hit to gross profit margin. The stock is down 1% in premarket trading.
Finally, Target turned in weak sales growth for the third quarter. Revenue rose by just 3% to $17.3 billion; comparable store sales growth came in at the low end of the company's guidance, but still ahead of Wal-Mart's results. Profit was surprisingly high at Target this quarter, at $0.84 a share. Target sees consumer spending in the U.S. as still "constrained," and the company is looking forward to getting its new Canadian business into the black. But that won't happen for some time, as Target expects Canada to hurt next quarter's profit by about $0.27 a share. The stock is down 3% in premarket trading.