FINANCE

Kohl’s Q4 profit falls less than expected, but forecast misses

BY Marianne Wilson

Menomonee Falls, Wis. — Kohl’s Corp. reported a lower fourth quarter profit on Thursday, hurt by markdowns during the holiday season. The loss was lower than Wall Street had expected. The retailer also forecast full-year earnings that fell short of analysts’ forecasts.

Kohl’s said its net income fell to $378 million for the quarter ended Feb.2, from $455 million a year earlier. (The retail calendar for fiscal January 2013 included a fifth week, resulting in a 14-week fiscal fourth quarter and a 53-week year.)

Sales in the quarter ended Feb. 2 rose 5.4% to $6.34 billion. Same-store sales rose 1.9%.

“Sales for the fourth quarter developed very late and, as a result, came at a cost to profitability,” stated Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and CEO. “We were, however, able to end the quarter with levels of inventory appropriate for a strong transition to spring.”

Kohl’s said it expects a full-year profit for the new fiscal year of between $4.15 and $4.45 per share, while Wall Street projected $4.56 per share.

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Walmart’s former general counsel steps down

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart said Tom Mars, EVP and chief administrative officer, will leave the company effective March 13.

Mars spent 11 years with the company and served as general counsel from 2002 to 2009 when he was promoted to his current role. In his current capacity, Mars was responsible for real estate, financial services for U.S. stores and company’s shows and events team and labor relations.

"As the chief administrative officer, Tom has been accountable for business strategy alignment across Walmart U.S. including responsibility for all large events such as the Year Beginning Meeting, Holiday Meeting and Saturday Morning Meetings," Walmart U.S. president and CEO Bill Simon said in an email announcing Mars departure. "Since joining Walmart, Tom has been a champion for diversity and inclusion in every aspect of the business."

In 2007, Mars received the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence award in recognition of his achievements in promoting a diverse workplace.

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Chico’s grows profits, Canada expansion planned for 2013

BY CSA STAFF

Specialty apparel retailer Chico’s reported strong fourth quarter results and announced plans to debut a new format and enter Canada in 2013.

The company said sales for the 14 week fourth quarter ended February 2, increased 14.5% to $652 million thanks to the inclusion of an extra week in the reporting period, a 3.7% same store sales increase and a net increase of 101 new stores that expanded selling space by 8.1%. The 3.7% comp increase is noteworthy because it came on top of an 8.7% comp increase during the fourth quarter the prior year.

The Chico’s/Soma Intimates brands’ comparable sales increased 2.3%, which followed a 5.5% increase in last year’s fourth quarter. The White House/Black Market brand’s comparable sales increased 6.3%, which followed a 15.4% increase in last year’s fourth quarter.

The company said profits increased 29.8%, excluding costs related to the acquisition of the Boston Proper brand, to $32.7 million, or 20 a share. For the full year, profits totaled $182.2 million, an increase of 26.1% compared to net income of $144.4 million for the fifty-two week year ended January 28, 2012.

Profits were aided by gross margins which expanded 90 basis points to 53.2% due largely to a higher level of full price selling and effective inventory management offset by higher incentive compensation expenses.

Going forward, the company this year plans to open its first Boston Proper stores, enter Canada and enhance its multichannel capabilities as it looks to deliver on financial goals that call for growing sales by low double digits and earnings per share in the mid-teen percentage range.

The company currently operates 611 Chico’s stores and 99 outlets and 405 White House/Black Market stores and 45 outlets.

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