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Earnings Roundup / Sears

Charges weigh down results

February 27, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Struggling retailer Sears Holdings Corp. said its fourth-quarter profit was cut in half as charges weighed down results and shoppers continued to avoid buying pricey appliances -- keeping sales mired in their prolonged slump.

Chairman Edward Lampert, who acquired Kmart in 2003 and Sears, Roebuck and Co. in 2005, told investors that the company's cautious approach to investing capital in stores and closing unprofitable locations -- 28 during the fiscal year and 24 more that were announced Thursday -- while paying down debt has helped the chain.

For the three months ending Jan. 31, the Hoffman Estates, Ill., company earned $190 million, or $1.55 a share.

That's down from $426 million, or $3.17, from the year-earlier period.

Sales fell 12% to $13.28 billion, missing forecasts by analysts.

Excluding the effect of charges at its Orchard Supply Hardware subsidiary, severance packages and store closings as well as one-time gains, Sears Holdings earned $360 million, or $2.94 per share -- ahead the $2.68 a share that was expected by analysts who were surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Sears shares fell 29 cents to $35.54.

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