Sears Holdings Corp. shares soared 10.4% in Thursday premarket trading after the retailer reported first-quarter sales that beat estimates. Net income was $244 million, or $2.28 per share, compared with a loss of $471 million, or $4.41 cents per share, for the same period last year. The adjusted loss was $2.15 per share versus the FactSet consensus for a loss of 71 cents per share. The FactSet consensus includes just two estimates. Revenue was $4.3 billion, down from $5.4 billion last year but ahead of the $4.1 billion FactSet consensus. The revenue decline was largely driven by a reduction in the number of Kmart and Sears full-line stores. Same-store sales fell 11.2% in the quarter, driven primarily by declines in grocery and household, pharmacy, apparel and home, the company said. A domestic same-store-sales decline of 12.4% was driven by decreases in appliances, footwear and tools. Sears recently announced agreements to reduce its debt burden, and the company said it has already put $700 million in annualized cost savings into place. The cost-savings target is $1.25 billion. Sears' cash balances were $264 million as of April 29, compared with $286 million on Jan. 28. Sears shares are down more than 40% over the past year, while the S&P 500 index is up 15% in that 52-week period.
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