Sears Holdings Corp's first-quarter profit slipped 38 percent, hit by weaker margins and slightly higher costs.

Sears, run by hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, posted a quarterly net income attributable to shareholders of $16 million, or 14 cents a share, down from $26 million, or 21 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding a gain on sale of real estate, store reserve and severance, it earned 2 cents a share.

Revenue at the company, which operates about 3,900 stores in North America, was flat at $10 billion, compared with the year-ago period.

Analysts on average were looking for earnings of 14 cents a share, on revenue of $10.21 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. [ID:nASA00DZO]

Gross margins at the company fell to 28 percent, compared with 29 percent in the year-ago quarter, while costs increased slightly to $9.9 million.

Shares of the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company closed at $99.56 Wednesday on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Shradhha Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan)