The Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based chain, which posted a 14.4 percent rise in fourth-quarter profits and was generally bullish on 2011 despite rising price pressures, said it would pay its first-ever quarterly dividend to common shareholders next month.
The 25-cent dividend will be paid on March 30 to shareholders of record as of March 9. The company’s board also increased the firm’s share buyback program by $2.6 billion to $3.5 billion.
The dividend and increased buyback plan are a show of financial strength during a worrisome time for apparel retailers facing skyrocketing cotton prices and other supply chain woes. Kohl’s shares rose $1.78, or 3.4 percent, to $53.80 in Thursday trading.
So far, Kohl’s has held its own. Fourth-quarter earnings increased to $493 million, or $1.66 a diluted share, up from $431 million, or $1.40, a year earlier and in line with analysts’ expectations. Sales for the quarter ended Jan. 29 rose 6.3 percent to $6.04 billion from $5.68 billion on a 4.3 percent comparable-store sales increase. Footwear and men’s were the standout performers.
For the year, the 1,089-door retailer saw a 12.4 percent rise in profits to $1.11 billion, or $3.65 a diluted share, on a 7.1 percent uptick in sales to $18.39 billion. E-commerce sales jumped more than 50 percent last year to $720 million. This year, Kohl’s plans to add about 40 stores and push profits to $4.05 to $4.25 a share.
About 48 percent of the firm’s sales last year came from private label and exclusive national brands, a percentage that’s only expected to rise with the introduction of Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony brands in all of the firm’s stores this fall.
“The combination of the two brands is the largest brand initiative in terms of scope and investment we will have ever made,” said Kevin Mansell, chairman, president and chief executive officer, on a conference call with analysts. “We continue to work on new brand ideas and do expect to have further news to share with you this spring on that front.”
Mansell is betting that exclusive offerings and better inventory management will help protect results from rising apparel prices. Gross margins, which last year increased 41 basis points to 38.2 percent, are projected be flat to up 20 basis points this year.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
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“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
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@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)