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Kmart's Dividend Discount


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KMART'S DIVIDEND DISCOUNT

KMART, STRUGGLING WITH tightening margins and facing a first-quarter loss, chopped its dividend for the first time in three decades. The cut, to 12 cents a quarter, from 24 cents, will produce annual savings of $220 million. That's the sort of move investors had wanted from former Chairman Joseph Antonini. Now, though, the cut may not be aggressive enough, say analysts. They want the retailer to quickly renovate older, frumpy stores. Donald Perkins, who replaced Antonini on Jan. 17, left open the possibility of another dividend cut if results don't improve. First-quarter earnings, due out on May 15, likely will suffer from an accounting change and from aggressive markdowns.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS


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