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Kohl’s sees holiday-quarter revenue down 10%, but sales strengthening

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A view outside of a Kohls store in Miramar, Florida.

Johnny Louis | Getty Images

Michelle Gass, Kohl’s CEO, said the retailer got a boost at the end of the holiday quarter, thanks in part to the influx of shoppers who came to its stores for Amazon returns.

The department store chain announced Thursday that fiscal fourth quarter sales will decrease about 10% year over year and sales in the same store will decrease 11%. In the past few weeks, however, sales have gained momentum. According to a survey compiled by Refinitiv, analysts had called for a decline in sales of 8.9%.

“You could assume that the returns, which are usually higher in January, played a role in increasing traffic towards the end of the quarter,” Gass said in a telephone interview. Kohl’s accepts Amazon returns in more than 1,100 locations, most of which are outside the mall.

The department store chain meanwhile expects fourth-quarter earnings per share to be somewhere between $ 1.00 and $ 1.05 before considering the effects of tax planning strategies. Analysts had demanded an adjusted profit of 70 cents per share.

Kohl’s shares rose more than 4% Thursday morning.

More customers visited Kohl’s website during the pandemic. According to Michelle Gass, general manager, digital sales accounted for more than 40% of net sales for the reporting period, up more than 20% year over year.

“Our fourth quarter performance exceeded our expectations on all key metrics and boosted sales over the period,” she said in a statement. The company tightened its spending management and helped strengthen its financial position for the New Year.

“If we continue this momentum through 2021, we are confident that our key strategic initiatives will accelerate,” said Gass, highlighting Kohl’s upcoming fall launch with Sephora and the bet that the partnership will bring more buyers to its stores.

Active clothing, housewares, and beauty continue to be among the retailer’s top performing categories, according to Gass.

“Kohl’s is very well positioned on the way into the coming year,” she said. “There has been a lot of disruption in the industry and we will benefit from it.”

At the close of trading on Wednesday, Kohl shares were up more than 8% in the past 12 months. Kohl’s has a market cap of $ 7.35 billion, which is larger than Nordstrom and Macy’s.

Kohl’s is expected to release fourth quarter results on March 2nd.

The full press release from Kohl’s can be found here.

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Robert Dunfee