What happened

Kohl's (KSS 6.51%) shareholders trailed a declining market in September. Their stock dropped 13% compared to the S&P 500's 3.9% drop, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

That decline added to significant short-term losses for investors, with shares down over 60% so far in 2020.

A woman checks her phone while shopping in a mall.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

There was no shortage of bad news for investors to digest last month. Following sharp sales declines due to consumer shopping behavior changes tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kohl's shares were removed from S&P 500. The department store giant's 10-Q filing on Sept. 3 also detailed the rising strain on the business, which today counts over $3.4 billion of long-term debt, up from $1.8 billion a year ago. The effective interest rate on that leverage is climbing, too.

Now what

Its financial challenges convinced management to announce a second round of restructuring aimed at further slashing costs. These cuts might position the company for solid rebound once the industry recovers. But most investors are taking a wait-and-see approach, at least until there's a clear path out of recessionary selling conditions for the apparel industry.