By  on November 11, 2010

Kohl’s Corp. late Wednesday reported flat third-quarter earnings that just beat analysts’ expectations, but its revenues for the three months fell short of estimates.

For the 13 weeks ended Oct. 30, the Menomonee Falls, Wisc.-based midtier department store reported net income of $194 million, or 63 cents a diluted share, 0.5 percent above the $193 million, also 63 cents, generated in the comparable 2009 period.

Net sales increased 4.1 percent to $4.22 billion from $4.05 billion a year ago, while same-store sales were up 1.8 percent. Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance had estimated earnings per share of 62 cents on revenues of $4.29 billion.

Gross margin rose 50 basis points to 38.5 percent of sales versus 38 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Kevin Mansell, chairman, president and chief executive officer, focused on the top line in his comments on the results. “We continue to gain market share, as reflected in our performance in both comparable and total sales growth,” he said. “This sales performance, along with strong inventory management, allowed us to continue to increase our gross margin rate.”

He said discipline throughout the company allowed it to keep expense growth lower than expected.

The firm, which will hold a conference call today, projected fourth-quarter comps of between 2 percent and 4 percent and EPS for the period of $1.51 to $1.59. Analysts expected EPS of $1.57.

Shares dropped 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $52.26 Wednesday, prior to the release of quarterly results, but gained nearly 1 percent in the early stage of after-hours trading.

In the nine months, net income mounted 16.4 percent to $652 million, or $2.12 a diluted share, from $560 million, or $1.83. Sales were up 7.4 percent to $12.35 billion from $11.5 billion.

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