November 28, 2008

Sears Holdings Corp.

Sears Holdings Corp. reports results for the fiscal third quarter on Tuesday. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: Sears Holdings Corp. (nasdaq: SHLD - news - people ), the retail chain lead by chairman and hedge fund financier Eddie Lampert, was struggling with falling sales even before the nation's economic meltdown began roiling retailers this fall. Now the company is contending with an even tougher sales environment as shoppers scale back on overall spending, particularly on big-ticket items like appliances.

During the quarter, credit-ratings agency Fitch Ratings downgraded its rating on the retailer, citing the company's weakening credit metrics and "significant pressure" on operating margins due to trends for same-store sales - or sales in stores open at least one year.

But the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based retailer questioned the move, calling the downgrade unwarranted and asked Fitch to monitor the company's financials for a possible upgrade.

Meanwhile, Sears began promoting its layaway program at Kmart stores for holiday shoppers and later expanded the effort to its Sears stores, which largely discontinued the payment option in 1989.

Sears also said it hired Michael D. Collins as senior vice president of finance. He's expected to succeed J. Miles Reidy as chief financial officer by the end of fiscal 2008.

Collins most recently was the senior vice president, planning and analysis at General Electric (nyse: GE - news - people ) Corp.'s NBC Universal Division. He worked in a variety of finance positions during his 18-year career at General Electric.

Source: Forbes

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