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Bull of the Day: Kohl's (KSS)

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An American department store giant, Kohl’s Corp. (KSS - Free Report) was founded in 1962, and offers customers exclusive brand apparel, shoes, accessories, and home and beauty products. Brands include Simply Vera Vera Wang, Sonoma, APT 9, Croft & Barrow, Jennifer Lopez, Food Network, as well as national names like Levi’s, Dockers, and Columbia.

Recently, Kohl’s has begun working with other industry giants. Its partnership with Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) , where it started selling the company’s smart home products and accepting the online retailer’s returns, ramped up earlier this year.

And, customers will soon be able to buy Aldi groceries at Kohl’s, as the retailer announced that it will be renting out some of its extra store space to a whole list of new partners.

Strong Holiday Quarter

Recently, the Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock reported better-than-expected results for its fourth quarter.

Adjusted earnings of $1.87 flew past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.77 and jumped nearly 30% from the prior-year quarter.

Thanks to solid sales and improved gross margin, revenues came in at $6.77 billion and grew 9.2% year-over-year. Gross margin expanded 43 basis points to 33.8%.

Comparable store sales rose 6.3% compared to a 2.2% decline reported in the year-ago quarter.

Back in the first quarter of 2014, Kohl’s implemented a strategic initiative called “Greatness Agenda” that was designed to drive transactions per store and sales. It seems to finally be yielding results, especially after this strong holiday quarter.

2018 Guidance

Based on a great fiscal 2017, Kohl’s management team expects comps growth in the range of flat to a rise of 2%, while revenue growth is anticipated in a band of negative 1% to positive 1% for 2018.

Gross margin is estimated to rise 10bps from last year, and earnings should fall in the range of $4.95 to $5.45 per share.

Estimates on the Rise

For Kohl’s, its bottom line is trending upward for the foreseeable future.

Earnings are expected to grow over 28% for the current quarter. Two analysts have revised their estimates upwards in the last 30 days, though just as many have also cut their estimate for the same time period.

Fiscal 2018 figures are also looking pretty promising, with nine estimates moving higher in the past month. The Zacks consensus estimate trend has jumped from $4.64 per share to $5.20 per share.

Earnings estimates for 2019 are on the rise as well, jumping from $3.58 per share to $5.53 per share in the last 60 days.

Can KSS Push Higher?

Shares of Kohl’s have gained about 20% since the start of the year, and almost 70% in the past one-year period. In comparison, the S&P 500 has returned roughly 2% and 14.9%, respectively.

Even with this surge, KSS is a fairly cheap stock, and is currently trading with a forward P/E of 12.85. Additionally, Kohl’s has traded below the S&P 500’s average price-to-earnings for the last year, and is less expensive when compared to the Retail-Regional Department Stores industry P/E of 13.6 as well.

It’s not just KSS right now either. Retail-Regional Department Stores is an overall strong industry at the moment—departments stores have made a serious comeback lately, with Macy’s (M - Free Report) and Dillard’s (DDS - Free Report) impressing analysts with better-than-expected holiday results as well—and sits in the top 1% of all industries that we cover and has returned almost 24% year-to-date. But even among this impressive landscape, Kohl’s is a standout. Thanks to its strong growth and value metrics, KSS looks to be an intriguing opportunity for investors.

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