UPDATE 1-Sears profit, sales beat analysts' estimates
Feb 28 (Reuters) - Sears Holdings Corp, which operates its namesake department stores and the Kmart discount chain, on Thursday reported stronger-than-expected quarterly results on tight cost controls.
The stakes were high for the company this holiday season, with many on Wall Street looking at the fiscal fourth quarter as a key milestone in terms of measuring the progress of its turnaround.
Sears has closed stores, tightly managed inventory, sold some real estate and shed assets to become more profitable in recent quarters.
The company's net loss narrowed to $489 million, or $4.61 a share, in the fourth quarter ended on Feb. 2 from $2.4 billion, or $22.47 a share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned $1.12 a share. Analysts on average were looking for a profit of 98 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales fell about 1.8 percent to $12.26 billion, but beat the analysts' average estimate of $11.77 billion. Total costs and expenses fell 2.2 percent to $12.88 billion.