Sears, Roebuck and Co. said that its January sales showed a steep decline, and a company executive said the retailer's first-quarter earnings would fall short of expectations.
Sears chairman and CEO Alan J. Lacy said he expects first-quarter comparable earnings per share to be between U.S. $0.50 and $0.65 per share. He said the expected shortfall will be due to a decrease in credit earnings and a later Easter holiday.
"We continue to tightly manage expenses and margins, and remain on track to deliver our annual comparable earnings per share guidance of a low- to mid-single digit percentage increase over 2002 comparable earnings per share of $4.92," he said.
Total domestic store revenues for Sears in the 4 weeks ended Feb. 1 were $1.6 billion, a 6.3-percent decrease compared with the four weeks ended Feb. 2, 2002. Same-store sales decreased 8 percent. Analysts had expected a 5.2-percent decline.
Home electronics, home fashions and home decor were particularly affected by lackluster sales, Sears officials said. But fitness products performed well, posting low-single digit increase, and specialty stores experienced a mid-single digit comparable store sales decrease. (Reuters)
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