NEW YORK — Apparel felt the sting of lower same-store sales as Kohl’s Corp. weathered “disappointing” first-quarter earnings growth during what chief executive officer Lawrence Montgomery bemoaned the “toughest quarter in the company’s history.”

Women’s, men’s and children’s apparel each experienced a 3 percent decline in comparable-store sales during the quarter, although accessories led merchandise categories with a comp advance of an equal amount, Kevin Mansell, president, said on a conference call with analysts.

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