By  on May 16, 2013

Kohl’s Corp.’s earnings fell, but were better than projected in the first quarter. Net income fell 4.5 percent to $147 million, or 66 cents a share, from $154 million, or 63 cents, a year earlier.

Earnings per share came in 8 cents ahead of the 58 cents analysts projected. The company had guided investors toward earnings of 55 cents to 63 cents a share. The stronger-than-projected bottom line helped push the company’s stock up 7.3 percent $53.30 in pre-market trading on Wall Street.

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Sales for the three months ended May 4 slipped 1 percent to $4.2 billion from $4.24 billion.“After a slow start, sales improved considerably in April as the weather finally improved in our most weather-sensitive regions,” said Kevin Mansell, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Despite the lower-than-expected sales, we outperformed our earnings guidance as gross margin results and expense management were better than expected. Our inventory levels are consistent with our expectations."

Kohl’s said second-quarter earnings per share would range from $1 to $1.08, straddling Wall Street’s best guess of $1.05.

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