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Kmart’s Holiday Comps Decline 4.6%

BY CSA STAFF

Troy, Mich., Kmart said its same-store sales declined 4.6% for November and December and declined 2.6% for December alone. The news was seen as good news by new CEO Aylwin Lewis. “We are pleased with the significant improvement in the rate of our same-store sales decline,” he said. “We are implementing numerous initiatives to grow sales and increase profits in 2005.”

The chain, which expects to merge with Sears early this year, said operating income should increase 10% in November and December to $250 million.

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Dollar General Posts Lower Q3 Earnings

BY CSA STAFF

Goodlettsville, Tenn., Dollar General Corp. reported net income for the third quarter of $71.1 million, down from $77.9 million in the third quarter a year ago.

The discount chain previously reported that net sales during the third quarter increased 11.5% to $1.88 billion. The increase resulted primarily from new-store growth and a same-store sales increase of 3.4%.

Gross profit during the quarter was $554 million, or 29.5% of sales, vs. $516.9 million, or 30.7% of sales, in the prior year. Sales of highly consumable items, which generally have lower gross profit rates than the chain’s other merchandise categories, increased as a percentage of total sales mix.

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Whitehall Jewellers Hires COO

BY CSA STAFF

Chicago, Whitehall Jewellers hired former Sears executive Lucinda Baier as COO. Baier has been a senior VP and general manager at Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears. She has more than 20 years of financial, accounting and management experience having served in senior positions at major retail corporations, including Sears and U.S. Office Products, the company said.

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