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Comparable-store sales fall at Sears

Sears Holdings announced today that domestic comparable-store sale for its second quarter fell 4.3 percent at Sears stores and 3.8 percent at the company’s Kmart stores. The company will release its official second-quarter results by Aug. 30.

Sears said it anticipates second-quarter net income of between $170 million and $185 million. Last month, the company forecast net income in the range of $160 million to $200 million. The company reported net income of $294 million in last year’s second quarter.

Since that earlier forecast, “the company has experienced higher markdowns, most notably within seasonal apparel categories,” according to a press release from Sears.

Sales fell “across most categories,” the company said, with some increases in consumer electronics, women's apparel and footwear. The company saw a second-quarter pre-tax gain of $15 million from items including bankruptcy-related settlements and insurance recoveries on claims filed for property damaged by hurricanes during fiscal 2005.

Sears Holdings' CEO Aylwin Lewis said while the company recognized the slowdown in the housing market contributed to declining sales, “we are disappointed with our second-quarter results.”

“We will work hard to improve our financial performance going forward," Lewis said.

The company also said its board of directors approved a plan to buy back up to $1.5 billion of stock.

Sears is the fourth largest home channel retailer in the United States, according to HCN’s Top 500 list of home channel retailers, with 2006 home improvement sales of $10.7 billion.