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Kmart Narrows Losses, Shows Decrease in Same-Store Sales

5 Dec, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

Kmart Holding Corp. narrowed the struggling discounter's losses for the third quarter ended Oct. 29, the company reported today.

Kmart reported a net loss of $23 million, or negative 26 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $383 million for the 13 weeks ended Oct. 30, 2002, although the chain reported that this year's results are not directly comparable to last year's, when the company was in bankruptcy.

Loss before interest, reorganization items, income taxes and discontinued operations was $10 million for the third quarter of 2003, versus a loss of $328 million in the same period a year ago.

Net sales for the 13 weeks were $5.092 billion, a decrease of 21.2 percent from $6.459 billion a year ago. On a same-store basis, sales declined 8.6 percent for the third quarter of 2003, compared to the third quarter of 2002. The decrease in same-store sales owes to the year-over-year comparison with several companywide promotional events that were taking place a year ago and the reduction in the frequency of midweek advertising circulars this year.

Executives cited a decrease in same-store sales and the closure of 316 stores during the first quarter as the cause of the decrease in total sales.

“We continue to actively manage our business in a disciplined fashion, steadily increasing our margin realization, reducing operating costs, enhancing the productivity of our assets and improving the overall store experience for our customers,” said Kmart president and CEO Julian C. Day. “Our focus on profitable sales and a consequent reduction in losses from clearance sales and promotional events resulted in a decrease in same- store sales in the third quarter. The actions we have taken to drive profitability contributed to a mid-teens decline in November same-store sales, but allowed us to operate the company profitably in November 2003.”

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