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Sears Profit Falls 22% on Store-Closing Costs

October 17, 2003|From Associated Press

Sears, Roebuck & Co. posted higher same-store sales for the first time in more than two years, but third-quarter profit fell 22% on costs to overhaul its Great Indoors home decor stores.

The company's net earnings totaled $147 million, or 52 cents a share, down from $189 million, or 59 cents, a year ago.

Results included a charge of $89 million, or 32 cents a share, to close three underperforming Great Indoors stores and convert a fourth to an outlet store. That left operating earnings at 84 cents a share -- 2 cents better than the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Total revenue was $9.79 billion, up from $9.67 billion a year earlier, and retail revenue climbed 1.1% to $7.3 billion.

The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based company enjoyed its first increase in sales from established stores in 10 quarters -- a 1.2% gain attributed in part to stronger home appliance sales and an improving economy.

Sears shares fell $2.61 to $48.80 on the NYSE, a day after reaching a 15-month high.

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