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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kohl's Profit Beats, but Outlook Tepid‏


Kohl's reported better-than-expected earnings as its strategy to ramp up exclusive lines helped it win market share but its outlook for the rest of the year, which includes the crucial holiday season, fell short of Wall Street forecasts, sending its shares down 3.8 percent in premarket trading.

The department store chain [KSS  46.09    -1.69  (-3.54%)   ]operator has lured cost-conscious shoppers away from rivals through a slew of exclusive merchandise, which makes up about 47 percent of sales and include lines such as Simply Vera Wang and Candie's.

"We continue to gain market share as reflected in our performance in both comparable and total sales growth," Chief Executive Kevin Mansell said in a statement.

But Kohl's, which operates about 1,100 stores, said it expects selling, general and administrative expenses to rise 10 percent to 11 percent in the current quarter and 3 percent to 4 percent in the fourth quarter, which includes the key holiday selling season.

The company reported net income of $260 million, or 84 cents per share, for its fiscal second quarter ended July 31, up 13.5 percent, from $229 million, or 75 cents per share, a year earlier.

Sales rose 7.7 percent to $4.1 billion, while same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, rose 4.6 percent.

Analysts had been expecting a profit of 82 cents per share on sales of $4.09 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Kohl's expects same-store sales to be up between 2 percent and 4 percent in the each of the next two quarters.

It expects earnings of 57 cents to 63 cents per share in the third quarter, below Wall Street forecast of 74 cents.

It expects full-year profit of $3.57 to $3.70 per share. Previously the top end of its range was $3.75. The average Wall Street forecast is $3.76.

Mansell said appropriate inventory levels had helped margins, which edged up 0.3 percentage point during the second quarter to 40.3 percent. The company said it expects a further improvement of between 0.2 and 0.4 percentage point in the third and fourth quarters.