MILWAUKEE — Kohl’s Corp. chairman and chief executive officer Kevin Mansell told shareholders at the retailer’s annual meeting here that the company “fell short” of objectives in 2011, but emphasized high rankings from shopper surveys and gains in Internet sales.
“We were outperformed by some competition,” Mansell said of the company’s financial results. “Not to say there weren’t successes.”
Kohl’s remodeled stores, improved its online experience for shoppers, reached its goal of $1 billion in online sales, opened a new fulfillment center and successfully launched Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony fashion lines, Mansell said.
In a conference call with analysts earlier in the day, Mansell said the company’s own execution was to blame for lagging sales in the first quarter.
He declined to speculate on whether J.C. Penney Co. Inc.’s new “fair and square” pricing strategy took sales from Kohl’s, saying he would need to see Penney’s first-quarter results, due out next week, before making a judgment.
Specialty stores did a much better job with the color denim trend in the first quarter, Mansell said on the call.
“There’s no way we had anywhere near enough depth on it,” he said.
The ceo also said the March heat wave drove such strong sales of seasonal goods that there was an inventory shortage in April.
Kohl’s on Thursday reported a 23.4 percent decrease in net income for the first quarter ended April 28, to $154 million, or 63 cents a diluted share, from $201 million, or 69 cents, a year earlier. Sales were up 1.9 percent, to $4.24 billion, while comparable-store sales increased 0.2 percent for the quarter.
Price cuts needed to drive sales were to blame for lower gross margins, the firm noted.
The company also said Thursday that it is testing a new store prototype that introduces furniture and lamps — items Kohl’s has been selling on its Web site. Test stores are located in Atlanta, Houston and Salt Lake City.
The furniture departments took over space from the children’s clothing department, chief financial officer Wes McDonald said during the call. The goal, he said, is to increase sales per square foot by $10 to $230.
Shareholders at the meeting soundly rejected — with only 3 percent in favor — a proposal from the Humane Society of the United States encouraging Kohl’s to develop a policy prohibiting the sale of animal fur in its stores. A shareholder proposal mandating that Kohl’s board make public its executive succession plan and another that would have required executives to retain their stock for a period of time after leaving the company also were rejected.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
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@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
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Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion