Kohl's earnings slip, comps up in Q1

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — Despite dropping from the previous year, Kohl's said its net income for the first quarter ended April 28 was in line with its expectations. The company reported net income of $154 million (63 cents per diluted share) compared with $201 million ($0.69 per diluted share) a year ago. Net sales were $4.2 billion, an increase of 1.9%for the quarter. Comparable-store sales for the quarter increased 0.2 percent.

Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and CEO, said, “Our first quarter results reflect the implementation of our strategy to initiate lower pricing in order to provide greater value to our customers. This planned action led to significantly lower gross margins for the quarter. Strong management of expenses allowed us to achieve our earnings goal for the quarter. We have accelerated new receipts into second quarter to ensure we are well-positioned from an inventory perspective for the back-to-school season. The combination of these two actions should allow us to greatly improve our sales for the fall season.”

Kohl's ended the quarter with 1,134 stores in 49 states, compared with 1,097 stores at the same time last year. The company opened nine new stores, including one relocated store, and closed one store during the quarter and plans to open approximately 10 more stores in the fall season. The company plans to remodel approximately 50 stores in 2012.

For the second quarter, Kohl's expects earnings to range from 96 cents to $1.02 per diluted share. The guidance is based on total sales growth of 2% to 3% and comparable-store sales growth of flat to 1% and includes expected second quarter share repurchases of $250 million. The company maintains its previously announced fiscal 2012 guidance of $4.75 per diluted share.