Shares of Kohl’s Corp. dropped 8.7 percent Thursday to close at $56.11 as the retailer missed its second-quarter profit estimate after reporting earnings per share of $1.07 on revenues of $4.27 billion. Results were impacted by a shift in back-to-school shopping trends as well as the impact of tax-free holidays.
Second-quarter EPS estimates from Thomson Reuters had called for $1.16 per share on total sales of $4.31 billion. Investors were also disappointed with Kohl’s fiscal 2015 guidance for the earnings per share to be in the range of $4.40 to $4.60 and probably near the low-end of the range. Analysts had been expecting $4.52.
Same-store sales showed a slight gain of 0.1 percent. Kevin Mansell, chief executive officer, said, “Our sales results were below our plan as the shift of sales in tax-free states from July into August was larger than anticipated.”
The company plans on offering a back-to-school sales tax holiday, but that was shifted to August from July as the school apparel shopping season is occurring later. Kids want to wait until school starts to see what the other kids are wearing before making wardrobe commitments.
On the conference call, Kohl’s said the most improved business during the quarter was women’s apparel, but juniors was weaker than anticipated. The company had overall softer sales in the second quarter, which led to higher markdowns. Kohl’s expects that its sales will recover in the third quarter as back-to-school begins in earnest.
The company also spoke at length on the conference call about pushing customers to buy online and pick up items in stores. This will save the company money on boxes and delivery and improve the use of existing store inventories. It also saves the customers from paying shipping costs, and Kohl’s has seen 20 to 25 percent in additional items purchased when they come to the store for the pickup.
The company also alluded to loyalty-plan events in October, and a strategy called the “Greatness Agenda.” The company said it wouldn’t talk about it more until later in the fall, but it will involve targeted pricing for customers — presumably with customers in the loyalty program.