Sears Income Up, But Credit Division Problems Continue

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Fourth-quarter net income at Sears, Roebuck and Co. was $669 million, up from $657 million in 2001, the company said yesterday.


Sales from Lands' End, which Sears acquired in July, and seven The Great Indoors stores contributed to the increase, but Sears continued to have problems with its Credit and Financial Products segment.


Operating income for Credit and Financial Products fell $63 million, or 14.8 percent, from the prior year. The company attributed this to uncollectible accounts. Fourth-quarter Credit and Financial Products revenue rose 4.4 percent from a year ago due to higher average receivable balances.


The company put aside $160 million more in the fourth quarter than it did in that period last year for people who are not paying their accounts.


In other news:


· The Sportsman's Guide Inc., South St. Paul, MN, said it will report sales of $65 million to $66 million for the fourth quarter. It expects sales for the year of $179 million to $180 million. The company posted sales of $169.7 million in 2001.


· Federated Department Stores, Cincinnati, forecasts sales and earnings per share to be essentially flat in 2003 compared with 2002. Comp-store sales for January are expected to fall 4 percent to 5 percent.


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