FINANCE

Kohl’s posts modest holiday gains; raises outlook

BY Marianne Wilson

Kohl’s Corp. was up against a tough competitor with regards to its 2018 holiday sales — itself.

Kohl’s said its same-store holiday sales, on a shifted basis, increased 1.2%. By comparison, the retailer’s same-store sales jumped 6.9% in the year-ago period.

“The organization once again delivered a very strong holiday that topped last year’s exceptional holiday season,” stated Michelle Gass, Kohl’s CEO. “The strong performance we achieved this holiday reflects the compelling product offering, great marketing strategy, and consistent execution in stores and online. We are particularly pleased with the positive transaction growth and the double-digit digital growth we experienced this holiday, as our customers continue to embrace the omnichannel investments we are making.”

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, commented that while Kohl’s comparable holiday sales has disappointed some investors, the chain’s results are reasonable when placed in a wider context.

“The fact is that Kohl’s posted stellar growth of 6.9% during the holidays of 2017, which made sales gains much more difficult to attain this year,” he said. “That the company still posted positive same-store numbers is a victory of sorts. For us, the main takeaway from Kohl’s numbers is not that growth has come down a bit. This is to be expected. Rather it is that Kohl’s is executing and delivering in a consistent way with some good progress on both the top and bottom lines. As sales comparatives soften after Q4, we expect growth to pick back up a bit as the company moves more fully into 2019.”

Based on its results, Kohl’s raised the lower end of its earnings guidance for 2018. The company now expects 2018 earnings per share of $5.50 to $5.55, compared to prior guidance of $5.35 to $5.55. Analysts have called for earnings of $5.52 per share.

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