Retailer Sears, Roebuck and Co. posted an economy-defying 12 percent increase in fourth-quarter 2001 profits yesterday, but said yesterday its overall 2001 profits were down hundreds of millions compared with 2000.
Fourth-quarter 2001 earnings totaled $494 million, up from $442 million in fourth-quarter 2000. Though sales in Sears' retail division dropped 3.5 percent to $9.49 billion in fourth-quarter 2001 compared with fourth-quarter 2000, profits in the retailer's credit-products and Sears Canada divisions grew $86 million and $87 million, respectively, fueling most of the quarter's success.
Despite the fourth-quarter rebound, Sears' yearly results in 2001 were well down from the previous year. Sears totaled $735 million in net income for 2001, compared with $1.34 billion in 2000.
However, Sears said that it is prepared for a better 2002. The company said it had reduced inventories $500 million since the end of 2000.
Sears also projected that its earnings per share for 2002 would rise 13 percent to 15 percent. Earnings per share for 2001 overall were $2.24, down from $3.88 in 2000.