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Restate Sears' Earnings? That's `Ludicrous'

Readers Report


The allegation that Sears, Roebuck & Co. may have to restate earnings for previous years is ludicrous ("Put the comeback on my card," Finance, Nov. 10). Anyone with a knowledge of financial-accounting and securities regulations would know that no conditions are present that would require Sears to restate its financial results, and we consider the article's inference to be highly irresponsible.

James A. Blanda

Vice-President and Controller

Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Hoffman Estates, Ill.

I wish to set the record straight on a statement attributed to me. You stated that I now believed "that Sears' credit-card problems may be so serious that the company may have to restate the last three or four years' earnings." I never made any such statement, and the idea of the company's having to restate earnings is preposterous.

There is no way of knowing how much of Sears' very impressive turnaround in recent years could possibly be due to credit promotional efforts. Hence there is no way that earnings could be restated to match credit losses to sales even if generally accepted accounting principles called for it, which they don't.

Maggie Gilliam


Gilliam & Co.

New York

Editor's note: Our reporter's notes contain the assertion attributed to Gilliam.Return to top


Your recent article on global warming takes a very simplistic view of the science associated with this issue--and of the scientific process ("Global warming: Is there still room for doubt?" Science & Technology, Nov. 3). The author does a disservice to readers by concluding that the call by Lee Raymond, Exxon Corp.'s chairman, for a scientific debate is 10 years too late. Nothing could be further from the truth. This issue continues to be surrounded by scientific uncertainty, notwithstanding claims to the contrary.

Despite aggressive, well-organized efforts to exaggerate the true state of scientific understanding, theories about human influence on global climate remain unproven. Three basic questions were posed by Mr. Raymond in Beijing. Is the earth really warming? Does burning fossil fuel cause warming? Do we have a reasonable scientific basis for forecasting temperature? Mr. Raymond's comments on each question were consistent with the state of science today.

Good science and good economics are necessary inputs to establishing sound public policies. They are not established by consensus or by measuring opinions. They must be grounded in hard analysis and truthful inquiry. I urge your readers to learn about this issue and the implications of premature action to their daily lives.

Frank B. Sprow


Environment and Safety

Exxon Corp.

Irving, Tex.

Congratulations on Paul Raeburn's article on global warming. Until I read it, I had despaired of seeing an honest, courageous look at global climate change issues in the business press. As your article makes clear, scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates a human role in global climate change. Since we don't know what the consequences of the climate change will be, the only rational response is to take steps to reduce carbon emissions.

Scott A. Ross

Division of Biology

California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, Calif.Return to top

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