Kohl’s profits dipped 13.7% in 2019

CEO: 2019 financials 'did not meet our expectations'

Kohl's Corp. headquarters in Menomonee Falls
Kohl's Corp. headquarters in Menomonee Falls

Last updated on March 4th, 2020 at 12:04 pm

Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp. on Tuesday reported a 13.7% decrease in net income in 2019, compared to 2018, as fourth quarter sales were flat and annual revenues fell 1.3%.

Revenue for fiscal 2019 totaled $19.9 billion, down 1.3% from total revenue of $20.2 billion the previous year. Revenue for Q4 totaled $6.83 billion, which was a slight increase from $6.82 billion during the same period in 2018.

Kohl’s reported net income of $265 million, or $1.72 diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter and $691 million, or $4.37 diluted earnings per share for the full year. Net income in 2019 decreased 13.7% from the previous year.

In January, the company reported that its comparable sales for November and December 2019 were down 0.2% from 2018. Kohl’s at the time had predicted full year earnings to be at the low end of its $4.75 to $4.95 per share guidance.

“While 2019 was a year in which our financial results did not meet our expectations, it was also a year of innovation and investment that further strengthened Kohl’s differentiation in the market,” said Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass in a statement.

One of the company’s big moves last year was expanding its Amazon returns program to its entire store footprint and rolling out plans to reduce its stores’ square footage, making way for complementary businesses such as Aldi and Weight Watchers to operate in the same building.

However, the retailer’s shortcomings should come as no surprise considering its holiday performance. In January, the company reported its comparable sales for November and December 2019 were down 0.2% from 2018. Kohl’s at the time had predicted full year earnings to be at the low end of its $4.75 to $4.95 per share guidance.

And in mid-February, Kohl’s laid off 250 employees as part of restructuring efforts. The move worried analysts and investors, but the company claimed “a position of financial strength.”

Gass said on Tuesday that the company is seeing an increase of foot traffic and new customers in both stores and online due to “the unprecedented level of new brands and partnerships we launched during the year.”

“I want to thank all of our associates for their ongoing commitment to Kohl’s and I am confident that we will build on our strengths in 2020 to stabilize and position the business for future growth,” Gass said.

On March 16, the company will host an investor day in New York City to update stakeholders on plans for improving business.

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Maredithe Meyer
Maredithe Meyer started as an intern reporter at BizTimes in summer 2015. She currently covers entertainment, sports, tourism and restaurants. In May 2017, she graduated with a journalism degree from Marquette University where she worked as an in-depth projects reporter for the Marquette Wire and Marquette Tribune.

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