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Sears Quarterly Profit Declines 13% After Holiday Sales Tumble

Sears Holdings Corp., the largest U.S. department-store chain, said fourth-quarter profit fell 13 percent after same-store sales declined during the holidays.

Net income dropped to $374 million, or $3.43 a share, in the quarter ended Jan. 29, from $430 million, or $3.74, a year earlier, the Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company said today in a PR Newswire statement. Adjusted earnings per share were $3.60, compared with a company forecast of $3.39 to $4.12.

Sears opened its namesake stores on Thanksgiving Day for the first time as it competed against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. to lure holiday shoppers. Sales at domestic Sears stores open at least 12 months declined 4.5 percent in the quarter while those at its Kmart unit rose 2.5 percent.

Lou D’Ambrosio assumed duties today as chief executive officer and president. D’Ambrosio, a former CEO of telecommunications company Avaya Inc., had worked as a consultant to the Sears board on strategic and operational matters, the company said yesterday.

D’Ambrosio, who replaces interim CEO W. Bruce Johnson, sold Avaya to Silver Lake and TPG Inc. for $8.2 billion in 2007 and stepped down for medical reasons in June 2008.

Sears tumbled $2.93, or 3.3 percent, to $87.23 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Before today, the shares had advanced 18 percent this year.

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