• Q4 profit of CAD373.7m versus CAD39.9m
  • Sales fall 9.6% to CAD1.82bn from CAD1.31bn 
  • Same store sales drop 6.4%

Retailer Sears Canada has seen its net profit increase more than nine-fold during the fourth quarter thanks to a series of one-off gains.

Net earnings reached CAD373.7m (US$337.1m) for the 13 weeks to 1 February, compared to CAD39.9m in the same period of the prior year.

The company said this included pre-tax gains of CAD391.5m related to early lease terminations and amendments, CAD66.3m linked to the sale of its interest in certain real estate joint arrangements, and CAD42.5m in amendments to post-retirement benefits.

Revenue declined 9.6% to CAD1.82bn from CAD1.31bn last year, while same store sales dropped 6.4% during the quarter.

Same store sales growth of 1.1% in its apparel and accessories business was not enough to offset declines at its home and hardlines businesses.

President and CEO Doug Campbell said: "The consecutive improvement in same store sales performance that we achieved through the first three quarters of the year and into November was negatively impacted in December, primarily by unusual weather which caused extended power failures and unsafe road conditions."

This, he added, resulted in either the closure of malls the company operates or a reduction in customers' ability to get to stores in the lead up to Christmas. It was also impacted by more power failures compared with the same period last year.

During the full year, the group's net profit grew more than four-fold to CAD446.5m from CAD101.2m in the prior year period, while revenue was down 8.2% to CAD3.99bn against CAD4.35bn last year.