‘Volatile’ holiday season drives Kohl’s sales down

Comparable sales down more than 2 percent

Kohl's store
A Kohl's store.

Strong sales during Black Friday and the week before Christmas were not enough to boost November and December sales totals, Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp. said Wednesday as it more than doubled its projected drop in earnings for the year.

Kohl's store

The retailer reported a 2.1 percent drop in comparable sales and a 2.7 percent drop in total sales for November and December combined.

“Sales were volatile throughout the holiday season,” said Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, chief executive officer and president. “Strong sales on Black Friday and during the week before Christmas were offset by softness in early November and December.”

In the entire fourth quarter of fiscal 2015, which also included January, the company reported a 0.4 percent increase in comparable sales and a 0.8 percent total increase.

The company said this year its men’s, home and footwear categories were the strongest while accessories had the most challenges.

The Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast were among the best performing regions, the company said. It did not disclose which regions struggled.

With sales and margins coming in lower than planned, the company lowered the midpoint of its earnings guidance by 8.5 percent to $2.92 to $2.97 per share, down from $3.12 to $3.32.

A competitive promotional environment along with the timing and mix of sales were expected to cut into margins, the company said.

If Kohl’s hits the midpoint of its new guidance, the company would finish the fiscal year with an 15 percent drop in earnings after having an 18 percent drop from 2014 to 2015. The company’s previous guidance called for a roughly 7 percent drop in earnings this year.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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