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HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL-Sales and earnings at Sears Holdings Corp. both fell significantly during the third quarter as the retailer battled a tough economic climate, unseasonably warm weather and other issues. “We cannot blame our results entirely on the retail and macro-economic environments,” says Aylwin Lewis, the company’s president and CEO, in a statement.

“We have much on which to improve and are working hard to do so,” he says. However, Lewis did not specify in the company’s earnings release what the retailer plans to do to turn around results.

The retailer’s net income plummeted during the period, which ended Nov. 3, to $2 million, from $196 million the same time last year. The fall was primarily attributed to a decline in gross margins as sales fell sharply.

Same-store sales at both the Sears and Kmart chains fell 4.6% year over year, with a 4.2% drop at Sears and a 5% slide at Kmart. Total sales came in at $11.5 billion, down from $11.9 billion during last year’s third quarter.

Though Sears had a tough quarter, it is making a $262-million bid to acquire 102-store home-furnishings chain Restoration Hardware, in which it has a 13.7% stake. Executives of the latter company say they will consider the offer and provide non-public information to Sears if Sears’ management agrees to sign a standstill-confidentiality agreement.

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