Sears/Kmart Comps Down 3.6%

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Hoffman Estates, Ill. - Sear Holdings is projecting a first quarter net loss of as much as $195 million and a same-store sales decline of 3.6 percent led by decreases in majaps and CE.

 The announcement, which sent Sears' shares down 10 percent, was made on the eve of the company's annual meeting yesterday, where chairman Eddie Lampert took responsibility for the weak performance while recently-named president/CEO Lou D'Ambrosio pointed to new opportunities in smart appliances, home services, direct marketing and selling its private-label Kenmore, Craftsman, DieHard and Lands' End brands through other retailers.

The company attributed the comp-sale decreases, comprised of 5.2 percent at Sears and 1.6 percent at Kmart for the three months ended April 30, primarily to declines in its majap and CE businesses. Despite tough year-over-year comparisons in appliances due to last spring's federally-funded majap rebate program, white-goods sales rose 5.7 percent in February and March, Sears told Reuters. But the unit volume gains were offset by a 7.5-percent decline in average selling price, reflecting Sears' aggressive majap promotions.

Included in the comp-sale figures were online sales from and that shipped direct to customers, which were up 22.4 percent during the quarter and added about 50 basis points to the results.


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