Are Investors Giving Kohl’s Enough Credit?

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Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE: KSS) reported its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday. The retailer said that it had $1.87 in earnings per share (EPS) on $6.78 billion in revenues, compared with consensus estimates that called for $1.77 in EPS and revenue of $6.74 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $1.44 and $6.21 billion in revenue.

During the quarter, comparable sales increased 6.3% year over year, compared with a decrease of 2.2% in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend on common stock of $0.61 per share, an 11% increase over its prior dividend. The dividend is payable March 28, to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 14.

In terms of guidance for the 2018 full year, the company expects to see EPS in the range of $4.95 to $5.45 with comparable sales flat to up 2%. The consensus estimates are calling for $4.72 in EPS on $19.07 billion in revenue.

On the books, Kohl’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $1.31 billion at the end of the quarter, up from $1.07 billion at the end of the same period last year.

Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s board chair, chief executive and president, commented:

I am very pleased with our fourth quarter and full year results, which exceeded the high end of our most recent guidance by $0.11 per share. Over the course of the year, we saw consistent, sustained improvement in sales trends which culminated in a 6.3% increase in our fourth quarter comp sales. We improved our merchandise margins through strong inventory management and improved promotional and permanent markdowns. All areas effectively managed their expenses. And, we ended the year with 7% less inventory. I am very proud of our team and the role they played in these results and want to thank them for their hard work, loyalty and dedication.

Shares of Kohl’s traded done more than 5% at $62.33 early Thursday. The consensus analyst price target is $65.47, and the 52-week trading range is $35.16 to $69.48.