Sears Holdings to Further Cut Benefits
Hoffman Estates, Ill., In the wake of soaring costs and plummeting shares, Sears Holding Corp. announced that retirees under the age of 65 will be forced to pay for their own health care coverage. Sears said that retiree health care costs consist of 17% of the company’s operating income.
Sears shares are down 29% from an all-time high of $163.50, set in July. Sears representatives say cutting costs is necessary to stay competitive, adding that Sears remains one of the only major U.S. retailers that provides retiree health care coverage: “Our new plan continues to be more generous than most,” spokesman Chris Brathwaite said.
Sears said that because of accounting rules related to its acquisition of Kmart it no longer expects to record gains from post-retirement benefits in future years.
7-Eleven Spurns Japanese Offer
New York City, 7-Eleven, the world’s largest convenience store chain, rejected an “inadequate” tender offer from its parent company Seven-Eleven Japan. The Japanese bid of $32.50 per share was deemed too low, and consequently not in the best interests of shareholders. 7-Eleven added that its advisors are in conversation about an increased offer, though a higher bid is not assured.
Rite Aid Posts Q2 Loss
Camp Hill, Pa., Rite Aid lost $1.6 million in the second quarter, compared to net income of $9.9 million in the same quarter last year. Same store sales increased 0.5%—consisting of a 0.8% decline in pharmacy and a 3.0% gain in front-end same-store sales.
Revenues for the quarter were $4.13 billion, up from $4.12 billion in the prior-year quarter.
The company remains on track to make its target of 80 new and relocated stores by the end of fiscal 2006.