Major appliances showed "solid improvements" in the third quarter, helping the retail segment at Sears to record a 1.1 percent revenue gain, to $7.34 billion, over the $7.26 billion reported in the year-ago period. Domestic comp-store sales rose 1.2 percent.
However, the retail and related services segment came in with an operating loss of $85 million, in the third quarter, ended Sept. 27, compared with operating income of $42 million in the same three months in 2002. Included in the three-month results was a $141 million charge related to the closing of three of the chain's The Great Indoors stores and the conversion of a fourth to an outlet store. Gross margin for domestic stores declined 26.2 percent.
The number of full-line Sears stores was 869 at the end of September, vs. 872 last year at this time.
Consolidated third quarter total revenue at Sears increased to $9.8 billion, up from $9.7 billion in the year-ago period. Net income dropped to $147 million in the quarter, compared with $189 million year-on-year. Earnings in the quarter included a pretax charge of $141 million.