Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: When cost cuts aren’t enough

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shldCheck out the cost cutting formula failing at Sears.

In the past few weeks a slew of retailers, ranging from Target to Macy’s to Dillard’s, have posted results that were better than Wall Street expected, helped by cost cuts.  Retailers have done everything from freezing executive salaries to eliminating jobs to slowing store expansion plans.

But on Thursday, Sears reported a surprise loss in its second quarter while analysts were expecting a profit.

The company, controlled by hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, cut total costs and expenses 8 percent. But revenue fell 10.3 percent to $10.55 billion.

Sales at its Sears stores continued to suffer from the faltering housing market, which has sapped demand for its Craftsman tools and Kenmore appliances.

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