Monday, May 07, 2007

Sears comps down again, but still profitable

Once again (how many times?), Sears reported that same-store sales were down in the first quarter -- Sears down 2.4%, Kmart down 4.7%. But they remain profitable and heavy on cash.

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.

In other reports, they said they will be starting up new branding campaigns for both chains, and that the worst of the Kmart locations may be turned into Sears Grand stores. (Is anybody willing to bet that Kmart will still be around in, say, three years?). And also,
Sears Chairman Edward S. Lampert, a 44-year-old billionaire hedge-fund manager, said turning around Sears may take another three years. The process has been one of the most difficult things he has done, Lampert said.
They also mentioned an interest in using that three billion to buy something. Wonder if he's looked at Gottschalk's?

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