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Sears, Kmart Comps Down 7% For Dec.

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Comp-store sales for Sears Holdings’ Sears and Kmart units together fell 7.3 percent for the five weeks, ended Jan. 3.

Comps at Sears declined 12.8 percent on weakness in hardlines and apparel, while Kmart’s comps slipped only 1.1 percent due to the success of its layaway program.

The parent company said comp sales were affected by unfavorable economic conditions, including the weak housing market and consumer credit issues.

The company is projecting that net income for the quarter ending Jan. 31 will be between $300 million and $380 million, compared with the $426 million reported last year. Sears expects full fiscal year net income to be between $163 million and $243 million, compared with last year’s $826 million.

The company repaid all borrowings under its revolving credit facility in December as working capital needs declined, and expects to end the fiscal year with about $1.3 billion in cash and cash equivalents and $8.5 billion of domestic inventory, down from $9.1 billion in inventory last year.