S&P IS PREPARING TO ELEVATE RATING ON SEARS SENIOR DEBT
NEW YORK — Standard & Poor’s is getting ready to raise the triple-B rating of Sears Roebuck & Co.’s senior unsecured debt and preferred stock.
The rating has been placed on CreditWatch with positive implications, reflecting the growing strength of Sears’ domestic merchandising.
About $13.2 billion of rated debt is affected.
Sears’ stock rose 1 1/2 to 42 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
The agency cited Sears’ impressive sales performance last year, occurring in a difficult retail environment, and noted that it’s an indication of management’s ongoing success in repositioning the company. In December, same-store sales rose 6.8 percent. In the quarter ended Sept. 30, Sears’ earnings climbed 19.2 percent to $228 million and sales rose 6.2 percent to $8.4 billion. For the nine months, income rose 10 percent to $593 million.
Strong revenue growth, combined with an ongoing cost-control program, should result in solid gains for the full year as well, S&P said.