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Kohl’s reports 22% jump in profit

Rick Barrett Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Saying that it’s encouraged about sales trends headed toward Christmas, Kohl’s Corp. on Thursday reported a 22 percent jump in profit for its recent fiscal quarter.

The retailer, headquartered in suburban Milwaukee, said it earned $146 million, or 83 cents per share, when the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from $120 million, or 83 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue fell 2.3 percent to $4.33 billion, but general costs fell 1.7 percent to $1.08 billion, and merchandise costs fell 2.3 percent to $2.72 billion.

The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 67 cents per share. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $4.28 billion in revenue.

“We are pleased to see continued improvement in our sales trends. Our back-to-school season was strong, followed by a soft September, and progressive improvement throughout October. We are encouraged by these trends as we enter the holiday season. Expenses were also well-controlled as substantially all teams outperformed their plans,” Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and CEO said in a statement.

Kohl’s and its competitors have faced a tougher market with more competition from online retailers.

In September, the company said it planned to open a fifth distribution center dedicated to online orders, located in Indiana. It already has centers in California, Ohio, Maryland and Texas.

Kohl’s expects full-year earnings in the range of $3.80 to $4 per share. The company also declared a quarterly dividend of 50 cents per share.

Kohl’s shares rose $3.60, or 7.8 percent, to $49.30 in premarket trading. The stock has climbed roughly 4 percent in the last 12 months.