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Sears, Kmart Comps Down 4% May-June

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings reported a 4 percent decline in comp-store sales at both its Sears and Kmart chains for the nine-week period, ended July 7.

At Sears, major appliances saw the steepest slide while Kmart experienced declines across most categories, the company said. Despite the slump in white goods, majap comps improved over the first quarter.

“We are disappointed with our recent performance,” said CEO Aylwin Lewis, “Although we believe our business has suffered from many of the same factors that have led other retailers to announce disappointing results and lowered expectations our recent performance underscores our ongoing need to become more relevant to consumers while improving our discipline around expense management.”

Sears projects net income for the second quarter, ending Aug. 4, to fall between $160 million and $200 million, compared with $294 million for the year ago period, based on current sales trends. The company expects to end the quarter with about $2.8 billion in cash.

Separately, Sears’ board has approved the repurchase of up to $1 billion in company stock, on top of the $484 million in shares repurchased during the May-June period. Sears has repurchased approximately 13.8 million of its common shares at a total cost of $1.9 billion since the third quarter of fiscal 2005, when the repurchase plan was first approved.