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Holiday Mixed For National Chains


Holiday 2011 was a mixed bag for some of
the nation’s largest retailers.

Sears Holdings pre-announced a 5.2 percent decline
in combined comp sales for Sears and sister chain Kmart
during its all-important fiscal fourth-quarter, ended Dec.
25. The chief culprit was consumer electronics, which accounted
for fully half of Sears’ 6 percent comp decline and
was a prime contributor to a 4.4 percent drop in Kmart’s
comps. Major appliances were the other main drag on
Sears’ seasonal performance, the company said. The poor
holiday showing prompted the retailer to mark upward of
120 stores for closure, slash 2012 inventory by more than
half a billion dollars, and begin reallocating floor space in
underperforming departments.

Meanwhile Best Buy, which enjoyed record Black Friday
sales, traffic, transactions and queues, marred a mostly
“hassle-free holiday” — as promised in pre-season promotions
— by canceling some Black Friday and Cyber Week
web orders just days before Christmas. Less than 1 percent
were unfulfilled, and affected customers received egift
cards for their trouble.

Target, which described Dec. 26 as the peak day for
gift card redemptions, offered up a fresh round of post-
Christmas promotions, while Staples kicked off the new
year by offering free shipping for all online orders through
Jan. 28.