Sears Holding Corp. reported a surprise loss in its second quarter on Thursday, saying it lost $56 million in the first quarter and fell far short of Wall Street forecasts.

Canada's second-biggest department store chain reported a loss of 43 cents per share, a drop from a year-ago profit of $223 million, or $1.45 per share. On an adjusted basis, Sears reported a loss of 53 cents per share for the three months ending May 5, compared with profits of $1.15 per share in the same period last year.

Sears, which gets about one-third of its sales from home goods and appliances, said revenue dropped 5.8 percent to $11.07 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting earnings of 15 cents a share on $11.41 billion in revenue.

Given that we do not expect any significant near-term improvement in the overall retail environment, we believe that our sales and gross margin for the balance of fiscal 2008 will continue to be pressured, the company said in a statement.

Sears shares were down 4.2 percent at $85.60 in late morning trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

A longer winter with more snow and colder weather in many parts of the country than last year, together with an early Easter, adversely affected sales of seasonal products, Chief Executive Dene Rogers said in a statement.

Better management of inventory and solid performances in many non-retail businesses enabled us to deliver a significant improvement in results.