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Sears blames HST for sharp drop in revenue

Sears Canada Inc. is blaming low consumer confidence and new taxes in two provinces for a dramatic drop in quarterly profit and revenue.

Sears Canada Inc. is blaming low consumer confidence and new taxes in two provinces for a dramatic drop in quarterly profit and revenue.

The department store chain’s third-quarter revenue was down 8.2 per cent from the same period a year earlier, Sears Canada announced yesterday.

Profit fell even more dramatically, dropping 61 per cent to $18.5 million in the 13 weeks ended Oct. 30 from $47.1 million in the third quarter of 2009.

That’s the equivalent of 17 cents per share, down from 44 cents per share.

Total revenue was $1.2 billion, down from $1.3 billion. Same-store sales from locations open for at least a year were down 8.2 per cent.

The company said its third-quarter results were affected by the new harmonized sales tax in Ontario and British Columbia, rising interest rates and high unemployment.

These factors had a negative impact on consumer confidence, said Dene Rogers, Sears Canada Inc.’s president and chief executive officer.

In response, Rogers said the retailer’s promotions for the holiday season will “focus on the lowest prices with the best value.”

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