WORK STOPPAGE AVERTED: A tentative agreement was reached over the weekend by the United Auto Workers covering UAW Local 174 members working at the Kmart distribution center in Canton, Mich. Details were not disclosed, pending ratification by members. Local 174 members had been ready to strike last week. Separately, Kmart executives denied published reports that a list of specific store closures exists, and that the number is set at 567 sites. Executives insist that no decisions have been made, and denied there would be that many shut. As reported, real estate sources said last month that South Florida is among the targeted areas. Other targeted areas, those sources said, include Pennsylvania and Texas.

MAY CO. SALES SLUMP: The May Department Stores Co. reported lower preliminary net sales and same-store sales in October. For the four weeks ended Nov. 2, the St. Louis-based retailersaid overall sales fell 3.8 percent to $925.5 million from $961.7 million a year ago, as comparable-store sales dropped 7.1 percent. Net sales for the quarter also disappointed, falling 4.1 percent to $3.05 billion from $3.18 billion a year ago. For the first nine months of the year,sales dipped 1.5 percent to $9.3 billion from $9.45 billion in the year-ago period. Based on third-quarter sales, the firm anticipates diluted earnings per share of 8 to 10 cents, excluding a 2-cent charge for the previously announced division combinations and a 2-cent charge for the early redemption of 8 3/8 percent debentures during the quarter.

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