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Kmart to Put Sears Name on 400 Stores Post-Merger

TROY, Mich. -- Kmart Holding Corp. here said it will convert more about 400 of its stores to a Sears format following its merger with Sears, Roebuck and Co.

The retailer disclosed the plans on Wednesday, the same day that it posted a $309 million profit for the fourth quarter, a 14 percent increase over the previous year. Sales at stores open at least a year continued to fall, though at a much lower rate than they had been.

Kmart and Sears shareholders are scheduled to meet March 24 at Sears' headquarters outside of Chicago to approve Kmart's acquisition of the department store chain, first announced in November. The $11 billion deal will create the nation's third-largest retailer.

Kmart currently operates 1,480 stores. The company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it plans to convert about 400 Kmarts to Sears stores over the next three years.

Although Kmart didn't specify what kind of Sears stores they would be, analysts noted that they likely would fit the new Sears Essentials concept for mid-size, stand-alone stores.

Sears said earlier this year that it would convert 25 of the 50 stores it acquired from Kmart into that format.

The company previously had announced plans to turn three of the acquired Kmarts into Sears Grand stores, a similar off-mall concept, only bigger.
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