P.M. BRIEFING : Sears Tells Fivefold Profit Hike

From Times Wire Services

Sears, Roebuck & Co. today reported more than a fivefold increase in fourth-quarter profit after the previous year's expensive restructuring charge and said its annual earnings rose 4%.

Despite the gains, Sears said results for both the fourth quarter and the full year were adversely affected by insurance claims stemming from the San Francisco Bay Area earthquake, Hurricane Hugo and severe cold weather in the South.

Sears reported net income of $602.1 million, or $1.76 per common share, for the three months ended Dec. 31 contrasted with $117.4 million, or 32 cents a share, for the corresponding 1988 quarter. Revenue for the quarter rose 4.2% to $15.18 billion from $14.56 billion, Sears said in a statement.

Results for the fourth quarter of 1988 included an after-tax charge of $442 million, or $1.17 per share, for restructuring the company's retailing business and a loss of $78.9 million, or 16 cents per share from the sale of the life and health insurance operations of Allstate Insurance Co., a Sears subsidiary.

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