Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ho-hum, sales down (again), profits up (again) at Sears

The question everybody asks is how long they can keep doing it.

Analysts raised their collective eyebrows Wednesday after Sears Holdings reported it is keeping a healthy cash kitty and has sold property, believed to be parking lots and other out lots such as gas stations, at some Kmart stores.

Sears also reported that holiday sales in November and December dropped 5.6 percent at Sears stores and fell 1.2 percent at Kmart stores from a year ago, but its fourth-quarter and full-year profits are expected to top Wall Street's forecasts.

The news sent shares up 3.5 percent.

That "healthy cash kitty" is what keeps speculation going about purchases (Gap and other possibilities).

Meanwhile, the chief marketing officer for Sears stores is out.
The chief marketing officer for Sears Roebuck & Co. unit has left the company, Bloomberg News reported today.

Joan Chow departed Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears last week, spokesman Chris Brathwaite said today in a telephone interview. He declined to comment further. Sears is owned by Sears Holdings Corp., the largest U.S. department-store company and also parent to Kmart Corp.

Brathwaite said Maureen McGuire, the chief marketing officer for both the Sears and Kmart Corp. divisions, will fill the position while the company searches for a permanent replacement ...

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