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Ron Hutchison, Kmart's chief restructuring officer, said that the company’s January comparable sales will be even lower than they were a year ago, though he remained optimistic about the company’s ability to emerge from bankruptcy protection by April 30, and be profitable in 2004.

In addition, Hutchison said that at least 10 out of the more than 300 stores that Kmart planned to close will instead remain open because landlords offered lease concessions.

He said that while Kmart is closing more than half of its supercenters, the food-and-general merchandise combo stores remain part of the company’s long-term strategy. And Hutchison said the company was surprised when Fleming Cos. CEO Mark Hansen said publicly that the business relationship between Fleming and Kmart would be ended.
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