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Sears, Kmart Q1 Comps Down

Hoffman Estates, Ill. – Sears Holdings reported single-digit declines in same store sales for its Sears and Kmart chains during the first 12 weeks of its fiscal first quarter, which ends May 5.

At Sears, same store sales slipped 2.4 percent during the period, largely due to a decline in its major appliance business. The company attributed the white goods slowdown to the weak U.S. housing market and increased competition.

For Kmart, comparable store sales declined 4.7 percent due to “lower transaction volumes across most businesses,” the company reported.

Despite the softer sales, the company is projecting an increase in first quarter earnings thanks to $69 million in unrelated gains, including a favorable legal settlement, a dividend from Sears Mexico, and insurance payments for hurricane damage in 2005.

Sears Holdings will end the quarter with about $3 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

The company reported its preliminary results in advance of today’s annual shareholder meeting. It expects to report its full results on May 31.