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Sears Canada's Earnings Climb

Sears Canada said its sales in its fiscal fourth quarter were down 5.6% from the same period a year earlier, although net earnings climbed 29.4%.

“The company managed both margins and expenses carefully,” Sears Canada president and ceo Dene Rogers said in a statement, adding that the company “continued to offer customers unprecedented value.”

Sales for the 13 weeks ended Jan. 30 amounted to C$1.52 billion. Same-store sales slipped 1.7% from a year earlier.

Earnings were C$128.2 million or C$1.19 per share, up from C$99.1 million or 92 cents per share a year ago. The retailer also said its operating EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) for the period climbed 20.4% to C$222.9 million.

For the full fiscal year, sales of C$5.2 billion were down 9.3% from the previous year as same-store sales decreased 6.8%.

Net earnings, including non-operating activities, were C$234.7 million or C$2.18 per share, a 19% drop from the C$290.7 million or C$2.70 per share earned a year earlier. The previous year had included a C$29.4 million after-tax gain from the sale of property.

Sears Canada said it had cash and investments valued at C$1.4 billion at the end of its fiscal year, an increase of C$426 million over the year prior. Total debt stood at C$350.7 million on Jan.30, compared with C$364.6 million a year earlier.

“With the economic recession and low consumer confidence prevalent throughout the year, 2009 was a challenging period for Canadian retailers,” Rogers said. “A cool, rainy summer and mild fall and winter in most parts of the country impacted sales, especially in highly seasonal categories.”

At the end of its fiscal year, Sears Canada operated 197 corporate stores, 204 dealer stores, 35 home improvement showrooms, over 1,800 catalog merchandise pick-up locations and 108 Sears Travel offices. It also sells through its catalog and online at www.sears.ca.

Sears Canada is majority-owned by Sears Holding, the Chicago-based parent of U.S. retailers Sears and Kmart.

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