• Q4 profit more than doubled to $430m
  • Revenue slipped 0.2% to $13.2bn
  • Kmart same-store sales rose 1.7%

Strong sales at its Kmart unit have combined with lower costs to help US retail giant Sears Holdings Corporation more than double its fourth quarter profit.

The Hoffman Estates, Illinois based retailer today (23 February) booked a net income of $430m or $3.74 a share, for the three months to 30 January, up from $190m or $1.55 a share a year earlier.

Last year’s results were dragged down by $336m write-downs, store closings and severance costs.  

Total revenue slipped 0.2% to $13.2bn, due to fewer stores and a 2.5% drop in domestic same-store sales.

Sales at Kmart stores open at least a year rose 1.7%, while Sears fell 6.1%. Despite gains in the toys and home categories, Kmart apparel sales were hit by a slowdown in discretionary spending.

“Our improved performance is especially encouraging given the challenging economic environment, particularly related to big-ticket items,” said W Bruce Johnson, Sears Holdings' interim chief executive officer and president. 

For the full year, net income soared to $235m or $1.99 per share, up from $53m or $0.42 per share in the prior year.

Annual revenues fell 6% to $44.0bn from $46.8bn. Same-store sales were down 5.1%, and included a 0.8% decline at Kmart and a drop of 8.7% at Sears Domestic. 

The retailer, whose apparel brands include Lands' End, Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer, said it decided to close 27 stores during the fourth quarter and 62 stores during the fiscal year.

This will lead to an extra $7m charge during the first half of 2010.