Kohl’s comps decelerate sharply in Holiday 2018
Wisconsin-based department store operator Kohl’s Corporation reported an increase of 1.2% in comparable store sales on a shifted nine-week basis for the combined November and December 2018 holiday period, a significant deceleration when compared to the growth of 6.9% seen in the prior-year period.
Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass said in a release that she was “delighted” with the comps rise, but the retailer’s comparatively sluggish progress led shares in the company to fall more than 9% on Thursday, according to figures reported by CNBC. Analysts had previously posited that Kohl’s would have an advantage in the 2018 holiday season following the liquidation of Toys ‘R’ Us and Sears’ descent into bankruptcy. “The strong performance we achieved this holiday reflects the compelling product offering, great marketing strategy, and consistent execution in stores and online,” Gass continued. “We are particularly pleased with the positive transaction growth and the double-digit digital growth we experienced this holiday, as our customers continue to embrace the omnichannel investments we are making.” In the light of its holiday sales figures, the company has also narrowed its full-year 2018 guidance for diluted earnings per share to between $5.50 and $5.55, at the upper end of its previously reported outlook of $5.35 to $5.55. This upbeat shift in guidance was not, however, enough to reassure the markets, not least because Thursday also saw a number of other US retailers report disappointing holiday sales, including Macy’s and L Brands, sending stocks tumbling across the sector. Kohl’s will provide further information concerning its performance over the holiday period when it announces its fourth-quarter results on March 5.