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Sears Canada Sells Credit Business

BY CSA STAFF

Toronto, Sears Canada entered into an agreement to sell its Credit and Financial Services business to JPMorgan Chase & Co. The retailer currently has servicing responsibility for the Sears Card receivables portfolio on behalf of Sears Canada Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Canada. As part of the transaction, Sears Canada and JPMorgan Chase will also enter into a long-term marketing and servicing alliance with an initial term of 10 years. The transaction has been approved by both companies and is expected to close by yearend 2005, subject to regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

Sears Credit and Financial Services business includes 10 million total accounts. This portfolio represents the third largest in Canada, and includes the largest in-house private-label portfolio. Both the Sears Card and Sears MasterCard will continue to be offered through JPMorgan Chase and the transition will be transparent to Sears customers.

In the United States in 2003, Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold its credit-card business to Citigroup in a $32 billion deal, which included a $3 billion premium for Sears.

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Michaels 2Q Profit Jumps

BY CSA STAFF

Irving, Texas, Michaels Stores Inc. posted a 15% gain in second-quarter profit. Net income rose to $30.8 million, or 22? a share, from $26.7 million, or 19? a share, a year ago. Sales rose 9% to $745.5 million from $682.9 million a year ago.

Same-store sales increased 4.2% in the quarter, driven by a 2.4% rise in the average ticket and a 1.4% gain in transactions. The best-selling departments were jewelry and beading, paper-crafting, foam and yarn.

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The Finish Line Lowers 2Q Earnings Guidance

BY CSA STAFF

Indianapolis, The Finish Line Inc. reported net sales of $341.6 million in the second quarter, up 9% year-over-year, despite a 2% dip in same-store sales. The retailer also lowered its guidance on second-quarter diluted earnings to the range of 37?-to-39? per share. The retailer had previously projected the figure would come in between 48? and 50? per share.

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