Kmart reports $383 million loss; still trying to rebound

Posted: Thursday, December 26, 2002

DETROIT) -- Bankrupt retailer Kmart Corp. posted a loss of $383 million in the third quarter, as sales lagged and the company fought to rebound from its Chapter 11 filing.

Kmart also reported its November same-store sales were down 17.2 percent from the year-ago period. October same-store sales were down 3.9 percent from October 2001. Same-store sales are considered the best indicator of a retailer's health.

The company said the big drop in its November sales reflected in part a quirk of the calendar: The company ends its fiscal periods on the last Wednesday of the month, so Thanksgiving weekend sales this year weren't counted in the November total.

The Troy-based retailer lost 76 cents per share for the 13 weeks ended Oct. 30, compared with a restated loss of $249 million -- or 50 cents per share -- in the third quarter of 2001.

Julian Day, the company's president, said December started strong but the last two weeks have been softer than expected.

Earlier this month, Kmart said it was restating earnings from the first two quarters of this year and for prior years after problems were discovered as part of the company's review of its accounting practices.

The adjustments related to several items, including a software programming error in Kmart's accounts payable system and leasing issues.

James Adamson, the company's chairman and chief executive officer, said Kmart is continuing to make progress in several areas and officials hoped to emerge from Chapter 11 court protection ''as early as practicable in 2003.''

Excluding noncomparable items, discontinued operations and reorganization items, the company's net loss was $390 million, or 78 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2002, compared with a net loss of $152 million, or 31 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2001.

Kmart filed for Chapter 11 protection on Jan. 22, following disappointing holiday sales and a stock dive. The discount retailer has closed 283 stores and is expected to announce another round of closings in January.

Last week, the New York Stock Exchange suspended trading of Kmart stock.


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