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Dismal Q2 for Kohl’s

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — It’s been a rough week for department stores.

Kohl’s Corp. joined Macy’s and Dillard’s this week in reporting disappointing earnings and weak same-store sales growth.

Kohl’s posted a profit of $130 million in the second quarter ended Aug. 1, down from $232 million in the prior-year quarter.

Earnings per share were 66 cents, compared with $1.13 in the second quarter of 2014. Excluding refinancing costs, the retailer earned $1.07 a share, which was ten cents below the average estimate of analysts.

Overall revenue inched up 0.6%, to $4.27 billion for the quarter. Same-store sales were nearly flat, at 0.1%.

Kohl’s noted that the shift in a three-day sales tax holiday to August from July in most states this year impacted its sales.

"Our sales results were below our plan as the shift of sales in tax-free states from July into August was larger than anticipated,” said Kevin Mansell, Kohl's chairman, chief executive officer and president. “Our expenses were well managed for the season. Our inventory receipts are well-positioned for the back-to-school and fall seasons."

Kohl’s ended the quarter with 1,164 stores in 49 states, compared with 1,160 stores at the same time last year.

Looking ahead, the company expects its fiscal 2015 earnings per diluted share to be at the low range of its previous guidance of $4.40 to $4.60.

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New Yorkers to get a (smaller) taste of Cost Plus

BY CSA STAFF

A soon-to-open Cost Plus World Market store in Manhattan could serve as a blueprint for the company's expansion in other urban areas.

The value-priced specialty retailer will open a prototype store on Aug. 20, in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood. At 5,000 square feet, it is Cost Plus’ first small-scale store (a typical Cost Plus is about 15,000 square feet).

“The store is a great way to introduce the Cost Plus World Market brand to New York customers, who may not be familiar with our assortment of unique and affordable home furnishings. We have no doubt that once a customer discovers us, they’ll become a frequent and loyal customer,” said Barry Feld, CEO of Cost Plus World Market, which operates 270 stores in 33 states.

Cost Plus offers a broad and unique assortment of home goods, including furniture, textiles, ceramics and glassware, home décor, jewelry and accessories and global food and wines in its 260-plus stores across the U.S.

However, the new Chelsea store will focus solely on living, dining and bedroom furniture, lighting, an expanded rug assortment including one-of-a-kind antique rugs from Turkey, small décor pieces and throw pillows.The store will also offer New York-area customers the opportunity to see in person select online-only offerings, including custom upholstery furniture with fabric swatch samples available to take and view in their home.

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Another giant enters the mobile payment wars

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Move over Apple and Google — and make way for Samsung.

Samsung Electronics Co. on Thursday announced Samsung Pay, a mobile payment service that will let customers pay with their phones at nearly any credit-card terminal. The new system will launch in Korea on Aug. 20 and in the United States on Sept. 28.

Unlike Apple’s Apple Pay and Google’s Android Pay which must use near field communication sensors to interact with point-of-sale systems at stores, Samsung is using a new technology called “Magnetic Secure Transmission” that will allow Samsung Pay phones to communicate with the magnetic strip reader typically found in credit card terminals around the country (Samsung Pay also supports NFC).

Samsung made the announcement at an event in New York where it unveiled its newest flagship devices: the Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5.

“With the launches of these exciting new smartphones, we will open a new era of mobile payment,” said JK Shin, the CEO and head of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics. “This is Samsung’s brave step forward to enhance our mobile experience. It is easy, safe, and most importantly, available virtually anywhere you can swipe a card, in most cases without new costs for merchants, from day one.”

Similar to other mobile payment systems, with the new Samsung Pay, customers will use their fingerprint to confirm a purchase after put put their phone near the store’s POS system.

Samsung Pay will be preloaded on select Galaxy S6 edge+ and Galaxy Note5 devices and a free software upgrade will be rolled out beginning mid-August, to enable Samsung Pay on Galaxy S6 and S6 edge phones.

For more on Samsung Pay, click here.

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