After Kohl’s Corp. said fourth-quarter comparable sales rose 0.4 percent with fiscal 2015 comparable sales rising 0.7 percent, the retailer reduced fiscal 2015 earnings-per-share guidance as sales and margins came in lower than expected.
The company said it now expects 2015 EPS to range between $3.40 and $3.45. Carving out “debt extinguishment losses recorded in prior quarters,” the fiscal EPS is pegged to range between $3.95 and $4, which is “down from its previously stated guidance of toward the low-end of $4.40 to $4.60 per diluted share,” the retailer said.
The retailer noted that footwear and home goods were top performers. Accessories performed the weakest. Regionally, sales were best in the West while the mid-Atlantic and South Central regions “were the most difficult,” the retailer said.
“The change in guidance is a result of lower than planned sales for the quarter and significantly lower than planned gross margin,” the company said, adding that gross margins were “affected by the origin and timing of the sales in addition to the competitive promotional environment which resulted in higher than expected markdowns on both year-round and seasonal merchandise.”
For the fourth quarter, total sales gained 0.8 percent while total 2015 sales rose 1 percent.
Kevin Mansell, chairman, chief executive officer and president, said while “we experienced our fifth consecutive quarter of positive comparable-sales increases, sales were very volatile and less than planned in the fourth quarter. We experienced a very strong holiday selling season from the week of Thanksgiving through Christmas. These results were offset by a very slow start to the quarter in early November and a weaker-than-expected January as soft demand for cold-weather goods led to lower store traffic in these more discretionary shopping periods.”
That said, Mansell noted a strong performance online, with the retailer’s digital business as online channel generating orders and sales that “grew approximately 30 percent during the quarter. Our ability to provide both ship-from-store and buy online, pickup in-store capabilities in all stores really resonated with our customer.”