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Sears issues sober fourth-quarter outlook

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sears announced declines in comparable-store sales for both its Sears and Kmart stores for the nine-week period ended Jan. 5, and offered sober guidance for the upcoming quarter.

Sears domestic saw a 2.8 percent decline during the months of November and December, while Kmart’s comparable-store sales declined 4.2 percent for the period. Total domestic comparable-stores sales declined 3.5 percent for the nine-week period, the company said.

The most notable declines occurred in the Sears apparel and tools categories and the Kmart seasonal categories. The company attributed the declines to increased competition and the negative impact of unfavorable economic conditions.

Sears Holdings also announced its fourth-quarter projections for the period ending Feb. 2.

The company expects net income for the quarter to be $350 million to $470 million, or $2.59 to $3.48 per share — down from earlier analyst estimates of $4.43 per share. The company projects its full-year income to be $744 million to $864 million, or $5.13 to $5.96 per share, while analysts had estimated $6.64 per share.

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Restoration Hardware reports lower holiday sales

BY HBSDEALER Staff

In its annual report on the holiday sales period, specialty retailer Restoration Hardware said net revenue took a small hit, falling 1 percent to $171.5 million from $173.2 million in the same nine-week period last year.

During the period, the company’s catalog page count declined 17 percent. Additionally, the company said it executed a “commensurate reduction in the number of books mailed … reflecting management’s long-term strategy to reduce costs and improve productivity.”

“The environment for home furnishings retailers remained challenging during the holiday period,” said Gary Friedman, president and CEO of Restoration Hardware. “The seasonal sales we anticipated in gift items during the final days of holiday did not materialize as expected, contributing to softness that was concentrated in our decorative accessories business.”

The Corte Madera, Calif.-based retailer has been the target of a takeover attempt by Sears Holdings. Sears Holdings has offered $6.75 per share for the mid-to-high-end retailer, a higher bid than the $6.70 per share offer from private equity firm Catterton Partners. Sears currently owns a 13.7 percent stake in Restoration Hardware.

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Newell Rubbermaid plans distribution facility

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Housewares maker Newell Rubbermaid has announced plans to build a new 800,000-square-foot distribution facility in Atlanta.

The move is part of a company strategy to “convert many single-brand distribution centers to select multi-brand distribution centers that are located more centrally,” the company said in a statement.

The new facility will employ approximately 300 people.

“This new distribution center further supports our global objective to achieve operational excellence and best total cost across our strong portfolio of brands,” said Mark Ketchum, president and CEO of Newell Rubbermaid. “We are continuing to make solid progress in eliminating redundancies and reducing our operational footprint.”

The company has reduced its global distribution facilities from 96 facilities to fewer than 80, with a goal of decreasing to approximately 50 over the next two years.

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