HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (AP) _ Sears, Roebuck and Co.'s first-quarter earnings slumped 25 percent on an industrywide retail slide that hurt sales at both its department and automotive stores.

The retail giant on Thursday also warned that the weaker economy will likely cause its second-quarter earnings to fall short of last year's results.

Earnings for the first three months of 2001 were $176 million, or 53 cents a share, compared with $235 million, or 65 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2000.

The report matched analysts' expectations, which were downgraded last week after Sears warned that its profits would not meet estimates.

Revenues for the quarter declined to $8.86 billion from $8.93 billion a year earlier. Domestic sales, which fell more than 5 percent in March alone, were hurt by the economy and by unseasonably cold weather that affected sales of apparel and lawn and garden merchandise.

``This was another difficult quarter for the retail industry,'' said Alan Lacy, who took over last fall as Sears chairman and chief executive. ``The slowing economy and colder-than-anticipated weather had an impact on both our hard-lines and soft-lines businesses, as well as our specialty formats.''

Sears' credit business also was hit by the economy, with revenues declining 8 percent from a year ago to $1.03 billion.

Lacy said the company is more optimistic about the second half of the year, forecasting full-year earnings to be in line with last year's.

Sears has 860 full-line department stores and annual revenues of more than $40 billion.

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