North American department store retail giant Sears, Roebuck and Co. today reported net income of U.S. $192 million, or $0.60 per share, for the first quarter ended March 29, 2003, compared with net income of $110 million, or $0.34 per share, in the first quarter of 2002.
"Sears' performance was in line with our guidance despite a challenging quarter for the consumer and retail sector as a whole," said Sears Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alan J. Lacy. "While we are feeling the effects of major merchandise category exits and edits as well as the weak economic conditions, we continue to improve the fundamentals of our retail and credit operations."
Sears, based in Hoffman Estates, IL, U.S., said the first quarter 2003 reported results were not affected by accounting changes, special charges, or gains on the sale of investments, which reduced first quarter 2002 net income by $190 million.
As anticipated, Sears says, retail and related services experienced lower store sales during the light post-Christmas period and reported an operating loss of $23 million for the first quarter of 2003. The segment posted very strong operating income of $87 million in the first quarter of 2002, in what Sears says is generally the lowest quarterly period of the year in terms of merchandise sales and profits.
Sears said the lawn and garden product segment performed especially well in its full-line and dealer stores.
Sears Canada's first quarter operating income of $10 million compares with an operating loss of $105 million in last year's first quarter. The prior year results include a pretax charge of $111 million.
The retail giant says that, given the current economic environment and cautious consumer sentiment, the company expects that near-term retail sector growth will be modest. It anticipates second quarter earnings per share will be between $0.85 and $1.00. The second quarter outlook assumes a mid-single digit comparable store sales decrease.
Back to Breaking News