Kohl's raises outlook as margins stay steady

Markets Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kohl's Corp <KSS.N> reported a higher quarterly profit on moderate sales gains as the department store chain kept gross margins steady despite rising cotton prices, and the retailer raised its full year profit forecast.

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Kohl's net profit for the first quarter rose 6 percent to $211 million, or 73 cents a share, from $199 million, or 65 cents a year earlier. That was in line with Wall Street analyst estimates. Net sales were up 3.1 percent at $4.16 billion.

The operator of nearly 1,100 department stores expects full year earnings per share to be between $4.25 and $4.40, while analysts were expecting $4.36, as compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The new range compares to an earlier forecast range of $4.05 to $4.25.

For the current quarter, Kohl's expects to earn between 96 cents and $1.02 per share, compared to $1 estimated by Wall Street.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by Derek Caney)

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