Department store chain Kohl's Corp. (KSS) Thursday reported a 12 percent decrease in profit for the fourth quarter, as sales declined close to 4 percent from last year that included an additional week. However, earnings topped wall Street estimates while sales met analysts' expectations.
Kohl's noted that the retail calendar for fiscal January 2013 included a fifth week, resulting in a 14-week fourth quarter. Total sales were $169 million in this additional week, and earnings per share was $0.06.
Net income declined to $334 million or $1.56 per share from $378 million or $1.66 per share in the previous year.
On average, 23 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings per share of $1.54 for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.
Net sales decreased 3.8 percent to $6.1 billion from $6.34 billion. Analysts estimated revenues of $6.1 billion for the quarter.
Comparable sales slid 2 percent compared to a 1.9 percent rise last year. Gross margin improved to 34 percent from 33.3 percent.
Kevin Mansell, CEO, said, "We were pleased with our sales during the November and December holiday season as the customer responded favorably to our merchandise and values. Despite increased shipping costs related to our E-Commerce business, we were able to achieve our gross margin guidance for the quarter.''
Mansell believes the company' inventory levels and assortment are well-positioned as it transitions into the spring season.
Kohl's ended the quarter with 1,158 stores in 49 states, compared with 1,146 stores at the same time last year. During 2013, the company opened 12 new stores and completed 30 remodels.
Looking ahead, assuming total sales increases of 0.5 percent to 2.5 percent and comparable sales growth of 0 to 2 percent, Kohl's sees earnings per share in the range of $4.05 to $4.45 for the year. Wall Street expects earnings of $4.39 per share.
The company's board on February 26 declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.39 per share on its common stock, an increase of 11 percent over its prior dividend. The dividend is payable March 26 to shareholders on record March 12.
KSS closed up 2.3 percent on Thursday at $54.44. The stock is marginally higher in pre-market activity.
by RTT Staff Writer
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