1. Sears and Kmart: When holiday shopping in July is not only condoned, but encouraged, someone's bound to cross the line. Enter Sears, whose revenues plummeted 5.8% in the past year and whose stock price soured by 42% in the past three months. Given that bleak backdrop, it's little wonder Sears felt like playing holiday music and lining its seasonal aisles last week with trees, ornaments and little light-up houses. The sale continued in the tchotchke-teeming "Christmas Lane" sections of Sears.com and Kmart.com, but Sears and Kmarts' biggest present for consumers is a "Christmas Club" card offering 3% interest (up to $100) for would-be Santa's looking to save now. So between the midsummer sales and the savings clubs, consumers get the privilege of spending twice? It's a holiday miracle!
-- Reported by Jason Notte in Boston.
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