Second-quarter profit at department store chain Sears Canada rose nearly 50 per cent to C$17.4 million from C$8.8 million last year as cost and inventory cuts kicked in.

Sales, however, were just 0.6 per cent higher, to C$1.59 billion from C$1.58 billion, mainly because of the late summer. Same-store sales fell 3 per cent during the quarter.

For the first six months, sales fell to C$2.998 billion from C$3.012 billion in the year-ago period.

Mark Cohen, chief executive officer, told analysts the company was taking a conservative outlook on clothing sales, adding: "We're unclear about what course the economy will take."

Sears Canada was hit in the first quarter by weak sales and restructuring costs from rebranding the 19-strong Eatons department store chain. Twelve stores have now been converted to the Sears name and the rebranding of the remaining seven should be finished by August.