Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S) today issued the following statement from its Chairman and CEO Alan Lacy regarding the sale of the company's credit card business and the beginning of its strategic alliance with Citigroup:
"We are pleased that the Credit and Financial Products business is in the capable hands of Citigroup, which is committed, as we are, to growing credit financial services at Sears. An important part of our ongoing business is attracting new credit customers and making sure our current customers continue to use their Sears Cards and Gold MasterCards in the same manner they do today.
"Our new strategic partner will provide world-class service and our customers can expect to receive the same features and benefits they now enjoy. In addition, Sears' retail business will benefit from the continuation of credit availability for our customers and zero percent financing promotions.
"Partnering with one of the world's most respected and well-resourced financial institutions solidifies Sears' position as the nation's leading broadline retailer, with substantial earnings and a strong balance sheet. Proceeds from the transaction are intended to be used primarily to retire debt, return cash to shareholders and for general corporate purposes."
Sears is a leading retailer in the U.S. and Canada, with $35.7 billion in merchandise sales and services revenues in 2002. The company is the No. 1 retailer of home appliances, fitness equipment and lawn mowers, and holds leading positions in many other categories. In addition, Sears is the exclusive provider of several leading brands, including Kenmore, Craftsman, Lands' End and DieHard. Sears owns a substantial direct-to-customer operation and is the largest product repair service provider in North America, making 14.5 million service calls annually.
SOURCE: Sears, Roebuck and Co.
CONTACT: News Media Contact, Edgar P. McDougal of Sears, Roebuck and
Web site: http://www.sears.com/