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Sears Warns of Weak First Quarter

Sears (S) said same-store sales fell in March, and the company also warned that it wouldn't hit Wall Street's earnings estimates for the first quarter.

The company said on Thursday that it expects earnings to total 53 cents in the first quarter. Thirteen analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call are calling for 57 cents a share, well below the 65 cents Sears posted in the year-ago period.

Sears also said domestic-store revenue for the five weeks ended April 7 came to $2.56 billion. Domestic same-store sales decreased 5.3% and total domestic store revenue fell 5.1%, when measured against the $2.7 billion in the year-ago period.

Analysts expected same-store sales to decrease by 1.8% for the month. Sears attributed the shortfall to the slowing economy and colder-than-expected weather.

Shares of Sears rose 25 cents, or 0.7%, to $34.90 in recent New York Stock Exchange trading.

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