August 13, 2015 / 8:39 PM / 2 years ago

Kohl's misses estimates on delayed back-to-school shopping

3 Min Read

The sign outside a Kohl's store is seen in Broomfield, Colorado February 27, 2014.Rick Wilking

(Reuters) - Department store operator Kohl's Corp (KSS.N) reported lower-than-expected quarterly same-store sales as consumers delayed back-to-school shopping due to a shift in tax holidays to August.

Shares of the company, which also posted second-quarter sales and profit that fell short of analysts' estimates, skidded as much as 11.3 percent on fears that the company might not be able to meet its full-year forecast.

"Our sales results were below our plan as the shift of sales in tax-free states from July into August was larger than anticipated," Kohl's Chief Executive Kevin Mansell said in a statement.

U.S. states offer a three-day sales tax holiday on back-to-school purchases. The tax holiday has shifted to August from July in most states this year.

Kohl's largely caters to low- to middle-income customers for whom tax benefits are important for discretionary spending.

The company said it now expects full-year profit, excluding the impact of debt extinguishment, to come in at the low end of its forecast range of $4.40-$4.60 per share.

"Second-quarter results at KSS disappointed, leaving many investors worried that the company may fall short of 2015 same-store sales and EPS guidance, even after adjusted to the low-end of plan," Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Trussell wrote in a note.

Same-store sales rose only 0.1 percent for the quarter ended Aug. 1, much lower than the 1.7 percent rise expected by analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix.

Lower spending on apparel and accessories and a general slowdown in consumer spending is also hurting sales at department stores.

"U.S. consumers are just not able to spend and are also changing their spending habits," Retail Metrics President Ken Perkins told Reuters.

"They are not renewing wardrobes as much as they did, they are not shopping those key categories that department stores carry as much as they used to."

Macy's Inc (M.N), which reported results below estimates on Wednesday, said consumers were spending more on restaurants, recreational services, healthcare and electronics rather than on general merchandise, apparel and furnishings.

Kohl's net income fell 44 percent to $130 million in the quarter ended Aug. 1. The company incurred a loss of about $170 million due to debt refinancing.

Excluding items, it earned $1.07 per share. Net sales rose 0.6 percent to $4.27 billion.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.16 per share on sales of $4.31 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Kohl's shares were down 9.3 percent at $55.69 by midday.

Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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