Wednesday Morning Earnings Roundup

For its fiscal fourth-quarter ended Jan. 26, Kmart announced that net income increased 14% to $309 million, or $3.09 a share, from $270 million, or $2.78, in the same period last year. Sales fell 7% to $5.91 billion from $6.33 billion a year ago. Comp store sales fell 4.5%, which was an improvement compared to the 12.8% and 14.9% decreases in the second and third quarters, respectively. The Troy, Michigan.-based retailer said that the earnings rise was aided by lowered costs of goods and selling, and also reductions in general and administrative expenses.

• Hingham, Mass.-based Talbots Inc. today announced that earnings for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 29 fell to $16 million, or 29? a share, from $22 million, or 38? a share, from a year ago. Net sales increased 11%, to $470.7 million, over $422.7 million last year. Comp-store sales increased 4.4%, while the clothing retailer’s catalog sales rose 20% to $69.7 million. Chairman and CEO Arnold Zetcher pointed to markdown merchandise sales during the post-holiday clearance event as an explanation for the strong fourth-quarter sales figures.

• Dallas-based Blockbuster Inc. reported earnings of $900,000 in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2004, a significant improvement over a loss of $1.19 billion a year ago. Revenue increased 6.3% to $1.72 billion from $1.62 billion in the same period last year. Worldwide comp-store sales were flat with the year-ago period. The video-rental chain also said it intends to restate some financials to correct lease accounting errors. In other Blockbuster news, the company said it has extended its buyout offer for rival Hollywood Entertainment Corp. to March 24 from the previous expiration date of March 11.

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