By Michelle Graff
New York--Kohl’s and Sears reported declines in same-store sales in the fourth quarter, despite it being the period that includes the all-important holiday season.

Kohl’s comps were down 2 percent in the three-month period while Sears’s U.S. same-store sales decreased by 6 percent, hurt by declines in the majority of merchandise categories.

Below are highlights from the fourth quarter and full-year financial statements released Thursday by the two companies, both of which are major sellers of fine jewelry.

Kohl’s Corp.
Kohl’s announced that same-store sales were down 2 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, compared with a 2 percent increase in the same period last year.

Total sales for the three-month period ended Feb. 1 also were down, decreasing by 4 percent to $6.1 billion versus $6.34 billion in 2012.

Operating income was down from $686 million to $609 million in the quarter, an 11 percent decline.

The company did not address the reasons behind the poor performance, saying instead that they were pleased with sales during the November and December holiday season and that they believe that “inventory levels and assortment are well-positioned for the transition into spring.”

Comps also were down for the retailer’s fiscal full year, decreasing by 1 percent. Net sales declined 1 percent for the 12-month period, decreasing from $19.28 billion in 2012 to $19.03 billion in 2013, while operating income decreased by 8 percent to $1.74 billion.

Kohl’s said that it ended the year with 1,158 stores across 49 states, compared with 1,146 stores at the same time last year. The company opened 12 new stores and completed 30 remodels in 2013.

In 2014, the company expects same-store sales to increase a maximum of 2 percent and total sales to increase between 0.5 percent and 2.5 percent.

U.S. same-store sales were down 6 percent year-over-year for Sears Holdings, comprised of a 5 percent decrease at Kmart and an 8 percent decrease at Sears.

According to the retailer, the decline at Kmart reflects decreases in a majority of categories, including consumer electronics, grocery and household, toys, and drugstore.

The decline at Sears reflects decreases in most categories as well, including the consumer electronics, tools and home appliances categories, which were partially offset by an increase in the lawn and garden category.

Total revenues for Sears Holdings fell 14 percent year-over-year in the quarter, decreasing from $12.3 billion to $10.6 billion in 2013.

For the full fiscal year, domestic comps were down 4 percent while revenues went from $39.9 billion last year to $36.2 billion in 2013, a 10 percent drop. 

The retailer did report, however, that its online and multi-channel sales grew 10 percent year-over-year. 

Sales from the retailer’s Shop Your Way rewards program members in full-line Sears and Kmart stores were up from 58 percent during the fourth quarter of last year to 72 percent this year, and also climbed from 59 percent to 69 percent during the full year.

“During 2013, we made progress in our continuing transformation into a member-centric retailer leveraging Shop Your Way and integrated retail, which we believe will position us for enhanced growth and profitability to create long-term shareholder value,” said Sears Holdings chairman and CEO Edward Lampert. 

“Our full-year results are impacted during this transformation as we continue supporting traditional promotional programs and marketing expenditures while we invest in our Shop Your Way program and integrated retail strategy. We have been investing hundreds of millions of dollars annually in our transformation and will continue to invest in the future of the company.” 

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