Sears Earnings Slip Amid Remodeling of Canadian Stores

Sears, Roebuck and Co. yesterday reported a 38 percent drop in first-quarter net earnings as profits were affected by charges from accounting changes and costs to remodel Canadian stores.

Net income in the quarter ended March 30 dropped to $110 million from $176 million last year.

Excluding one-time items related to a change in accounting for goodwill and costs to convert 12 Eaton stores to Sears Canada stores, income rose to $300 million from $150 million last year.

Sears said 2002 operating profits were helped by lower expenses and margin improvement in its retail division.

Total revenue in the first quarter increased to $9.04 billion from $8.86 billion last year.

Operating income from the company's retail unit, excluding one-time items, increased to $87 million from an operating loss of $56 million in the previous year. Retail revenue fell to $6.77 billion from $6.81 billion last year.

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