Kohl’s shares soar on quarterly profit growth

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Kohl's Corp. reported a fiscal third-quarter profit that beat Wall Street expectations as lower costs offset a decline in sales.

Shares jumped more than 11 percent in morning trading Thursday, to $50.84 each.

Kohl's operates more than 1,150 stores nationally, including 14 stores in the Indianapolis area. The company recently bought a massive distribution center in Plainfield that it plans to use in its strategy to boost online sales.

The Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based company's profit jumped 21.6 percent, to $146 million, or 83 cents per share, in the third quarter. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, came to 80 cents per share.

Meanwhile, revenue fell 2.3 percent, to $4.33 billion, but general costs fell 1.7 percent to $1.08 billion and merchandise costs fell 2.3 percent to $2.72 billion.

The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 67 cents per share. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $4.28 billion in revenue.

Same-store sales, a key metric of a retailer's health, fell 1.7 percent during the quarter. Kohl's and its competitors have been facing a tougher market with more competition from online retailers as consumers increasingly enjoy the ease and speed at which they can shop from electronic devices.

Kohl's and other retailers have been trying to expand their online presence as shopping trends continue to shift. In September, Kohl's announced the acquisition of the Plainfield distribution center, its fifth that will be dedicated to online fulfillment. It already has centers in California, Ohio, Maryland and Texas.

Kohl's expects full-year earnings in the range of $3.80 to $4 per share. The company also declared a quarterly dividend of 50 cents per share.

Kohl's shares rose $3.60, or 7.8 percent, to $49.30 in premarket trading. The stock has climbed roughly 4 percent in the last 12 months.

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