, the corporate owner of both Sears and Kmart, appears poised to ride the momentum from its first quarter -- when it topped forecasts and reversed a loss -- straight into the second-quarter.

Once stagnant in its approach to improving its merchandise and in-store experience, Sears is currently rolling out several new initiatives in an effort to beef up its struggling sales.

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The company is now offering, for starters, a purchase-protection program on home appliances to help consumers who lose their jobs. The free program covers payments on appliance purchases of more than $399 made on a Sears' card.

On the merchandizing front, Sears is relaunching two maternity-clothes collections this fall and testing toys in 20 of its locations.

The company is also hoping to gain an edge over rivals like


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J.C. Penney

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this holiday season by getting shoppers to start saving for Christmas presents now. Sears is bringing back an old-fashion Christmas club account that allows shoppers to put aside money on a regular basis now through Nov. 14. If activated before Oct. 31, cardholders can earn a 3% reward, up to a maximum of $100.

In the second quarter, analysts expect a profit of 35 cents a share on revenue of $10.73 billion. Last year the company earned $65 million, or 50 cents a share, on revenue of $11.76 billion.

Credit Swiss analyst Gary Balter believes Sears may even beat Wall Street's outlook on slightly improving sales.

"We believe the company is benefiting from a number of competitor closings, its own store closings, some better seasonal trends and a number of promotions," he wrote in a research note.

Analysts will be listening for any update on the company's ongoing search to replace interim CEO W. Bruce Johnson, who replaced Aylwin Lewis a year and a half ago.

Shares of the company were down 1% to $73.72 in afternoon trading. Sears has been trading between $26.80 and $108.75 during the 52-week period.

Last week Macy's,


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and J.C. Penney all upped their full-year outlook. Come tomorrow, we'll know if Sears will follow suit.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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