Kohl's Shares Sink After Company Cuts Outlook

By Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Kohl's Corp. shares sank 15.6% in premarket trading after the company said it is revising its earnings per share guidance for fiscal 2015 downward. The retailer now says it expects earnings between $3.40 and $3.45. Adjusted earnings are expected to total between $3.95 and $4.00. Previous earnings guidance was between $4.40 and $4.60. The change is due to lower-than-planned sales for the quarter and "significantly" lower-than-expected gross margin, the company said in a Thursday release. Lower margins were the result, in part, of a competitive promotional environment. Kohl's said same-store sales for the fourth quarter were up 0.4% and sales increased 0.8%. Fourth-quarter same-store sales were expected to rise 1.7%, according to FactSet. Fiscal 2015 same-store sales increased 0.7% and total sales increased 1%. Full-year same-store sales were expected to rise 1.1%, according to FactSet. "We experienced a very strong holiday selling season from the week of Thanksgiving through Christmas. These results were offset by a very slow start to the quarter in early November and a weaker-than-expected January as soft demand for cold-weather goods led to lower store traffic in these more discretionary shopping periods," said Kohl's Chief Executive Kevin Mansell in a statement. The digital business grew 30% for the quarter, Mansell said. Fourth quarter and full-year earnings will be announced on Feb. 25. Kohl's shares are down 23.5% for the past 12 months while the S&P is down 6.3% for the same period.

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