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Sears Holdings unveils year-end outlook

BY DSN STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings released its year-end outlook for the fiscal year 2010 ending Jan. 29.

For the full year, the company expects a net income of $210 million, with a fourth-quarter income expectation of between $370 million and $450 million, offsetting the company’s past two quarterly losses.

The company also posted up-to-date comparable-store sales for both its Sears Domestic and Kmart stores.

For the quarter-to-date, comparable-store sales for its Sears stores were down 5.3%, with Kmart stores seeing an increase of 3.4%.

For the year-to-date comparable-store sales, Sears saw a decline of 3.8%, with Kmart seeing a 0.8% increase.

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Retail sales rise in December

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON — Retail sales rose for a sixth consecutive month in December, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sales rose 0.6% from the prior month, the Census Bureau reported Friday. However, the increase pushed sales for all of 2010 up 6.7%, the largest annual increase since 1999. Excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.5% last month.

Grocery stores experienced a 2.3% upswing from 2009, bringing its 2010 sales to $525.5 million, while health and personal care stores saw a rise of 3.8% from 2009, totaling $264.1 million for the year. And while advance estimates are not available for pharmacies and drug stores, the Census Bureau last reported that November sales rose to about $18.75 million, a slight jump from about $18.7 million in October.

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McNeil provides update on comprehensive action plan

BY Allison Cerra

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — After announcing its voluntary recall of certain products at a wholesaler level on Friday, Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Consumer Healthcare division provided an update on its internal assessment phase of its comprehensive action plan.

McNeil said that it submitted details of its thorough investigation of quality and compliance issues to the Food and Drug Administration. The company said that the assessment, which involved products produced in McNeil’s internal manufacturing network as early as 2007, identified a number of areas for improvement that are being addressed. The issues surrounding McNeil’s manufacturing plant in Fort Washington, Pa., prompted the company to refit the plant, as well as put forth plans to invest in the upgrade of other McNeil facilities. The product recalls and subsequent Fort Washington closure influenced sales of OTC medicines produced by McNeil, J&J said back in July.

"Steps we have taken under the comprehensive action plan constitute an uncompromising and systematic effort to review quality and manufacturing practices at McNeil," said J&J chairman and CEO Bill Weldon. "They help us assure that moving forward, any of our products in the marketplace live up to the trusted standards and expectations that consumers have for all products coming from a Johnson & Johnson company, anywhere in the world."

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