Same-store sales down at Sears, up at Staples

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Sears Holdings Corp. yesterday reported that revenues increased $0.2 billion during the fourth quarter ended February 3 for a total of $16.3 billion.

The increase was primarily due to an additional week of sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006 compared to the same period in fiscal 2005, the company said in a statement.

Domestic comparable-store sales for the Hoffman Estates, IL-based company declined 3.1 percent during the same period. Sears' domestic comparable-store sales declined 4.9 percent and Kmart's same-store sales dropped 0.9 percent.

For the full-year period, revenues totaled $53 billion compared to $49.1 billion in fiscal 2005. The increase in fiscal 2006 was primarily due to the inclusion of Sears for the entire year and, in smaller part, to the inclusion of an additional week of sales, the company said.

For the year, domestic comparable-store sales declined 3.7 percent, with Sears' domestic same-store sales declining 6.1 percent and Kmart's same-store sales declining 0.6 percent.

The company also posted net income of $820 million - or $5.33 per diluted share - for the fourth quarter ended February 3, compared with net income of $648 million - or $4.03 per diluted share - for the same period last year.

For the full year, net income was $1.5 billion - or $9.57 per diluted share - compared with net income of $858 million - or $5.59 per diluted share - for the previous fiscal year.

Staples Inc., Framingham, MA, said yesterday that company sales for the fourth quarter ended February 3 grew 18 percent for a total of $5.3 billion compared to the same period last year. North American comparable-store sales rose 1 percent, while in Europe same-store sales increased 5 percent.

Excluding $370 million of total company sales during the extra week in the fourth quarter, sales increased 10 percent compared to last year.

The multichannel office supply merchant's net income rose 22 percent for a total of $336 million. Earnings per share of $0.46 on a diluted basis increased 24 percent.

For fiscal 2006 sales totaled $18.2 billion, a 13 percent increase compared to 2005. Excluding the 53rd week in 2006, total company sales increased 11 percent versus last year. Both North American and European comparable-store sales, calculated on a 52-week basis, increased 3 percent for the year. E-commerce sales totaled $4.9 billion, a 28 percent gain over last year.

The company reported 2006 full-year net income of $974 million, a 24 percent increase versus last year. Earnings per share of $1.32 on a diluted basis rose 27 percent versus 2005.

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