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    Kmart Holding Corp. Posts Narrow Loss, Lower Sales in First Quarter

    TROY, Mich. - In its first quarterly report since emerging from bankruptcy-court protection in May, Kmart Holding Corp. on Monday posted a narrow net loss and declining sales, Dow Jones Business News reports.

    TROY, Mich. - In its first quarterly report since emerging from bankruptcy-court protection in May, Kmart Holding Corp. on Monday posted a narrow net loss and declining sales, Dow Jones Business News reports.

    Troy, Mich.-based Kmart posted a net loss of $862 million, or $1.65 a share for the period ended April 30, compared with a loss of $1.44 billion, or $2.87 a share, a year earlier.

    The retailer said its loss before $769 million in reorganization costs and other small items, came to $32 million, compared with a comparable loss of $920 million for the 2002 first quarter. Last year's results include a charge of $542 million for store-closing liquidation sales.

    Sales fell 14 percent to $6.18 billion from $7.18 billion. Same-store sales were off 3.2 percent.

    In its first quarter, Kmart's gross margin nearly doubled to $1.42 billion from $745 million. Gross margin, as a percentage of sales, increased to 23 percent from 10.4 percent last year. Kmart attributed the increase in gross margin primarily to the $542 million charge last year. Gross margin also was helped this year by closing store liquidation sales, a decline sales of food and consumables with lower margins, and a decrease in promotional markdowns, partially offset by clearance markdowns.

    At the end of the quarter, Kmart said it had approximately $1.23 billion in cash and cash equivalents, and borrowing availability of approximately $1.5 billion on its $2 billion credit facility.

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