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Apparel experiences slow spring/summer sales, Sears
04
May '11
In advance of its annual meeting of shareholders to be held May 3, 2011, Sears Holdings Corporation announced domestic comparable store sales for the first fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2011 for its Kmart and Sears stores as follows:

Quarter ended April 30, 2011

Kmart - 1.6%
Sears Domestic - 5.2%
Total - 3.6%

Our domestic comparable store sales decrease was primarily driven by appliances, apparel and consumer electronics. Appliances, which had the most notable decline, benefited in the prior year from the Cash for Appliances rebate programs in the quarter. Apparel experienced slow spring/summer sales due in part to worse weather than the prior year. Sears' home, sporting goods, jewelry and footwear categories continued to generate comparable store sales growth during the quarter.

Beginning with the first quarter of 2011, we now include internet sales from sears.com and kmart.com shipped direct to customers in comparable store sales. This change resulted in a positive benefit of approximately 50 basis points to total domestic comparable store sales for the quarter. We continue to invest in our multi-channel capabilities to take advantage of sales as they convert from traditional sources to the internet. During the quarter, our internet sales on sears.com and kmart.com shipped directly to customers (as opposed to picked-up in store) increased 22.4%.

Sears Canada expects to report a comparable store sales decline of 9.2% for the quarter.

We currently expect a net loss attributable to Holdings' shareholders for the first quarter ended April 30, 2011 of between $145 million and $195 million, or between $1.35 and $1.81 per diluted share. In the first quarter of fiscal 2010, we reported net income attributable to Holdings' shareholders of $16 million, or $0.14 per diluted share.

We currently expect to end the first quarter with approximately $9.8 billion in merchandise inventories (domestic of $8.9 billion and $0.9 billion at Sears Canada).

Adjusted EBITDA

The Company expects to report total Adjusted EBITDA of $25 million to $105 million in the first quarter (domestic of $50 million to $100 million and Sears Canada of $(25) million to $5 million), which is computed as follows:

• expected net loss attributable to Holdings' shareholders of $145 million to $195 million;
• plus income statement line items not included in EBITDA consisting of income attributable to noncontrolling interest, income taxes, other income (loss), interest and investment income, interest expense, depreciation and amortization expense and gains on sales of assets of $149 million to $279 million;
• plus domestic pension expense and closed store / severance costs not included in Adjusted EBITDA of $21 million.

In the first quarter of 2010, we reported Adjusted EBITDA of $304 million (domestic of $257 million and Sears Canada of $47 million). For further discussion of the reconciling items, see the Company's press release on fourth quarter and full year 2010 results issued on February 24, 2011.

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