Sears, Roebuck and Co. reported last week that its Credit Division posted a 10.8% decline in operating income while its financial product revenues increased by 1% in 1Q/03, compared to 1Q/02. Over the past twelve months Sears’ credit card outstandings have grown 9.3% to $29.5 billion. The MasterCard segment has doubled, and the private label card segment has declined 17%, during this same period. The “Sears Gold MasterCard” now holds $12.4 billion in outstandings while the “Sears Card” currently holds slightly less than $17.2 billion in outstandings. Sears noted that its $395 million in first quarter operating income for the Credit Division declined due to an increase in the provision for uncollectible accounts. In the first quarter, net charge-offs rose to 6.11% compared to 5.43% one year ago. Delinquency also increased from 7.31% for 1Q/02 to 7.87% for the first quarter of this year. Sears also reported that its net interest margin dropped from 14.69% to 13.75% and that its yield on all credit cards declined from 18.64% for 1Q/02, to 16.94% for 1Q/03. Sears also noted that it is continuing to evaluate the possible sale of all or a portion of its credit card segment with a goal of taking action in the second half of 2003. For complete details on Sears first quarter performance visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).