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bucked the dour November retail trend, reporting an unexpected sales gain and momentum into the holidays.

The company, which is being acquired by



, said same-store sales jumped 2.8% in November from a year ago, while total sales rose 1.9% to $2.51 billion.

"Despite sluggishness early in the month, we enjoyed particularly strong customer response to our enhanced promotional events and had record sales the day after Thanksgiving," Sears said. "We had very solid performances in key gift categories, such as home electronics and tools, and our home appliance business had another strong month."

The department-store chain said overall apparel sales fell in November compared with a year ago, although women's ready-to-wear improved "at the end of November and footwear performed well throughout most of the month."

Specialty retail sales were up in the midsingle-digit range, led by Sears Hardware and its Great Indoors decorating segment.

Sears wasn't doing appreciable volume in Thursday's premarket, but Kmart rose $2.20, or 2.1%, to $106.25.