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said earnings in November and December rose 10% from a year ago to $250 million on a 4.6% decline in same-store sales.

The retailer, which agreed to acquire



in November, said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $400 million over the two months.

The rate of the same-store sales decline represents an improvement for Kmart over previous months. On Nov. 17, Kmart said third-quarter same-store sales fell 12.8%.

"We are pleased with the significant improvement in the rate of our same store sales decline," the company said. "As we have discussed before, Kmart has taken actions on many fronts to reset baseline sales at a level that forms the basis for profitable growth.

"It is our intention to maintain a substantial base of sales and be significantly profitable at the same time, and we are pleased with our progress to date. We are implementing numerous initiatives to grow sales and increase profits in 2005," Kmart said.