Sears Holdings Comps Down, Stock Up

Clearly trying to drive its stock price higher, Sears Holdings Corp., reported on Jan. 9 that despite falling same-store sales during the crucial holiday selling season, it will report a profit of $750 to $830 million, up as much as 16% to 28% from the $648 million it earned during the fourth quarter of 2005.

Since being taken over by owner Edward Lampert, Sears has taken a low public profile, shunning comment, avoiding the press and declining to report monthly same-store sales. But with its stock price off by almost 10% from its 52-week high, Sears put out the good news more than six weeks before it will report fourth-quarter results on March 1.

Liking what it heard, Wall Street on the day of the announcement gave Sears what it hoped for and pushed its stock price up by $3.26 a share, or 2%, to $169.29 in mid-day trading.

The retailer said Kmart same-store sales declined 1.2% during the nine-week period ended Dec. 30, hampered by lower transaction volumes. Apparel sales, while hurt by unseasonably warm weather, still increased over last year's level. Same-store sales in Sears units fell by 5.6%, hurt by lower lawn and garden and appliance sales, partially offset by an improvement in women's apparel, the company said.

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, FurnitureToday
trussell@furnituretoday.com

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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