(By Balachander) Kohl's Corp. (NYSE:KSS) reported a 20 percent decline in second-quarter earnings amid drop in sales and margins and that the department stores operator reduced its full-year forecast. Yet, the bottom-line beat market expectations.
Earnings fell to $240 million or $1.00 per share from $299 million or $1.08 per share in the year-ago quarter. Wall Street analysts, on average, expected EPS of 96 cents for the quarter ended July 28.
Net sales declined 1.0 percent to $4.2 billion, in line with consensus estimates. Comparable store sales also fell 2.7 percent.
Gross margin contracted to 39.0 percent from 40.7 percent a year ago.
In the preceding first quarter, Kohl's posted a 23 percent fall in earnings as drop in margins offset sales growth. It earned 63 cents a share on sales of $4.2 billion.
Looking ahead for the third quarter, Kohl's forecasts EPS between $0.83 and $0.89, on total sales gains of 1 percent to 3 percent and comparable store sales growth of flat to 2 percent. Analysts' expect EPS of $0.88 on sales of $4.50 billion.
For the full year ending January 2013, the company now expects earnings per share in the range of $4.50 to $4.65, down from prior outlook of $4.75, versus market expectations of $4.64.
Kohl's declared a quarterly dividend of $0.32 per share, payable Sept.26, 2012 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Sept. 5, 2012.
The company ended the quarter with 1,134 stores in 49 states, up from 1,097 stores in the same period last year.
KSS shares closed Wednesday's regular trading at $52.06. Over the past year, the stock has been trading between $42.14 and $56.66.