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Sears, Roebuck & Co. said Thursday it would try and counter slow sales by launching its most aggressive promotion ever: slashing up to $500 off the price of big appliances and offering zero percent financing on some high ticket items.

The aim is to lure shoppers at a time when consumer confidence is slumping. From now through Christmas Eve, the nation's No. 1 department store is moving up its traditional after-Christmas apparel sale, reducing prices 20 percent to 40 percent.

On certain days, prices on Brand Central merchandise such as washers, vacuum cleaners and microwave ovens will be cut by up to $500. Zero percent financing will be offered Dec. 11-12 on goods such as home electronics, furniture and jewelry.

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