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Kohl's (KSS) Stock Up on Q4 Earnings Beat & Dividend Hike

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Kohl's Corporation (KSS - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2019 results, wherein both top and bottom lines came ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Moreover, management announced a 5% hike in its quarterly cash dividend on Feb 26, taking it to 70.4 cents per share. This is payable on Apr 1 to stockholders of record, as of Mar 18. Shares of the company were up more than 5% during the pre-market trading session on Mar 3.

Kohl’s adjusted earnings of $1.99 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.88. However, the bottom line declined 11% on a year-over-year basis. The downside can be accountable to reduced gross margin and increased SG&A expenses.

Kohl's Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Kohl's Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Kohl's Corporation price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Kohl's Corporation Quote

Total revenues came in at $6,832 million compared with $6,823 million in the prior-year period. Total revenues came ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6,810 million. Net sales remained almost flat at $6,537 million, while other revenues grew 2.4% to $295 million in the quarter. Further, comps were flat year over year compared with 1% growth in the year-ago quarter.

However, gross margin plummeted 81 basis points (bps) to 32.7% in the reported quarter. SG&A expenses rose 2.8% to $1,742 million. As a percentage of sales, it grew 70 bps to 25.5%. Further, operating income came in at $401 million, down 9.1% from the prior-year quarter’s figure.

Fiscal 2019 Synopsis

Adjusted earnings for the fiscal tumbled 13% to $4.86 per share, which however beat the consensus mark of $4.76. Total revenues dropped 1.3% to $19,974 million (or $19.97 billion), which surpassed the consensus mark of $19.59 billion.

Other Financial Details

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $723 million, long-term debt of $1,856 million and shareholders’ equity of $5,450 million. The company generated net cash from operating activities of $1,657 million during fiscal 2019.

Guidance

While Kohl’s fiscal 2019 results came below management’s expectations, it remains encouraged about the improved store and online traffic. This can be accountable to the company’s focus on innovation, brand investments and alliances undertaken in the fiscal. For fiscal 2020, management expects comps growth in the range of negative 1% to positive 1%. In fiscal 2019, comps dropped 1.3%.

Further, it expects the gross margin to decline 10-20 bps. SG&A expenses are anticipated to increase 1-2% from the 2019 figure.

Kohl’s envisions adjusted earnings per share of $4.20-$4.60 for fiscal 2020, which indicates a decline from $4.86 in fiscal 2019. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is currently pegged at $4.58 per share.

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