Kmart Board Meets to Discuss Financial Options

CHICAGO - The Kmart Corp. board of directors met on Tuesday to discuss financial options, possibly even bankruptcy, as the company's stock closed near a 34-year low, Reuters reports.

The nation's No. 2 discount chain did not disclose how it will address Wall Street's concerns about the possibility of a Chapter 11 filing.

"If we have something to announce, we'll announce it at the proper time," Jack Ferry, Kmart spokesman told Reuters.

Kmart, already in the middle of a $2 billion restructuring, has said that it may need additional financing from banks after months of weak sales. Officials have said that business plans for 2002 and 2003 are under review.

Since the start of the year, Kmart stock has lost half its value. The decline began in December when Moody's Investor Services downgraded the Troy, Mich.-based retailer's debt to "junk" status, followed by a Prudential Securities retail analyst's suggestion that the company may file for bankruptcy if business doesn't improve.

Some analysts expect that Kmart will be forced to close a large number of its 2,100 stores in a bid to cut costs.

Large suppliers including Procter & Gamble Co., Fleming Cos Inc. and bankrupt underwear maker Fruit of the Loom have all said in recent days that Kmart is paying its bills on time so far.
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