Why Kohl's Shares Dropped

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of all-purpose retailer Kohl's (NYSE: KSS  ) were hitting the sales rack today, falling as much as 11%, after the company reported surprisingly weak November same-store sales.

So what: Comparable sales were low across the retail sector but, at Kohl's, they tumbled 5.6% in the four-week period ended on November 24. Despite the disappointing results, CEO Kevin Mansell said that sales improved during the Thanksgiving week, and that Black Friday sales had migrated toward the online channel. Online revenue increased 50% during the busy shopping week, and much of that revenue will not be recognized until December. Same-store sales were negative in all regions nationwide, but were especially weak in the Northeast, due to the effects of Superstorm Sandy. About 8% of Kohl's stores are in New York and New Jersey.

Now what: Notably, the company's same-store sales decrease in November 2011 was even worse, at 6.2%, than this year's, and December sales were below the average for that year. E-commerce only makes up about 5% of the company's sales, so even if Mansell is correct about his December revenue prediction, the upward swing won't be enough to counter the November losses. More concerning than just one month's results should be the fact that same-store sales, which include online transactions, have fallen 1.1% for the year, and overall revenue has grown just 0.4% in 2012. With results like that, especially at a time with multi-year highs in consumer confidence, Kohl's looks like a middling pick, at best.

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12/19/2014 4:07 PM
KSS $59.59 Up +0.14 +0.24%
Kohl's Corp CAPS Rating: ***

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