Sears fourth-quarter income sinks 47 percent

Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears Holdings reported net income and sales down for the fourth quarter and year ended Feb. 1.

For the quarter, the company reported net income of $426 million, down 47.5 percent from $811 million in the prior-year quarter. Net sales were $15.1 billion, down 6.8 percent from $16.1 billion in the previous year.

Net income for the year was $826 million, down 44.6 percent from $1.5 billion in the same quarter last year. Sales for the year were $50.7 billion, down 4.3 percent from $53 billion from last year.

Domestic comparable-store sales declined 4.5 percent for the quarter, with Sears Domestic declining 4 percent and Kmart declining 5.2 percent. For the year, domestic comparable-stores sales declined 4.3 percent, with Sears Domestic declining 4 percent and Kmart declining 4.7 percent. The company also reported a more pronounced decline in comparable-store sales in the month of January.

"Our fourth-quarter and full year results continued to be negatively impacted by the worsening economic conditions faced by both our customers and competitors, as well as increased markdowns taken to clear excess inventory," said W. Bruce Johnson, Sears Holdings' interim CEO and president. "Given the challenging retail environment, we will work to improve and tighten our management of costs and inventory levels in 2008.

“Further, we believe that our recently announced restructuring will position us to navigate the difficult conditions that lie ahead and operate our businesses more efficiently and effectively," he added.

The company also stated that the results were partially offset by improved operating results at Sears Canada.

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