Lou D'Ambrosio to step down as Sears Holdings CEO

Retailer reports quarter-to-date earnings

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — The CEO of Sears Holdings is stepping down due to unspecified family health reasons, the company said.

Sears, the parent company of Kmart, said Lou D'Ambrosio would step down on Feb. 2, the end of the company's fiscal year. Edward Lampert will assume the role of CEO and chairman, while D'Ambrosio will remain on the board until the company's next annual meeting, in May 2013.

"The board greatly appreciates Lou's strong leadership in accelerating the transformation of Sears Holdings, and we understand and respect his personal decision to step down," Lampert said. "Lou has guided Sears Holdings during a time of rapid industry change to become a more customer- and member-focused company and positioned us to lead in integrated retail. His contributions to our company have been significant, and the entire Sears Holdings family wishes Lou and his family the very best."

"It has been a true privilege to serve the customers, members, shareholders and associates of Sears Holdings," D'Ambrosio said. "This was a very difficult decision, but necessary for family considerations."

In other news, the company reported its quarter-to-date performance for fourth-quarter 2012. The company said comps declined 1.8% due to sales declines in the consumer electronics category; excluding that category, comps declined by 0.2%, including a 2.4% increase in U.S.-based Sears stores and a 2.4% decrease at Kmart, with Sears' increase driven by apparel and appliance sales, while Kmart saw declines in consumer electronics, pharmacy, grocery, household and drug categories; the pharmacy decline was due to greater dispensing of generics. Meanwhile, Sears and Kmart saw online sales increase by 20%.

The company expects a net-loss for the quarter of between $280 million and $360 million, compared with a $2.4 billion net-loss in fourth quarter 2011.

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