The stock market may be singing the blues over a whole list of concerns, but there is at least one company today that can repeat, without wavering, the comic urban statement, "Save the drama for your mama." Kohl's
As a result of new brand and marketing initiatives to draw first-time customers to the stores, transactions for the quarter were up 4.8% compared to the same period a year ago. On top of this, transaction value rose 2.1% year over year, leading to overall comparable same-store growth of 6.9%. New store openings were the other growth driver, as net sales increased by a solid 16.1% for the quarter.
CEO Larry Montgomery said in the quarterly earnings conference call that he is "very pleased" with the company's latest performance, which was solid across the board. When management can step up to the microphone and say with confidence "all initiatives are working," you know things are going well.
The aforementioned brand and marketing initiatives that are in place aid Kohl's in keeping products fresh and relevant for consumers. Two areas highlighted that performed particularly well were the Home and Men categories. The Home segment saw strength in bedding, bath, and housewares, while the Men category did well across all levels.
The company intends to continually introduce new brands to its lineup -- recent entries like Yankee Candle in the Home segment and Tony Hawk in Kids were two examples. Because of this, management is satisfied with current inventory levels -- up 11% year over year -- and it believes the stock reflects the freshness it has been striving for.
Add together solid sales and new unit growth, sound inventory management, and improving profitability (operating margins were 8.9% versus 7.9% a year ago), and the bottom line comes out to a stellar 34.1% increase in net income. Since it kicked off fiscal 2006 with a bang, management is raising its earnings target to a range of $2.91 to $3.02 per share, up from the previous level of $2.74 to $2.87.
Prospective investors will want to inspect the company's free cash flow generation once the figures are made available in its 10-Q filing. But from just an earnings perspective, at roughly 18 times projected current-year earnings, this stock is reasonably priced, given the kind of growth rates we are currently witnessing. The market may be soaking sweat with concern, but Kohl's shareholders have good reason to keep smiling.
- Seems Wal-Mart
(NYSE:WMT)can't please all the people all the time.
(NYSE:TGT)bounced to the step of the Easter Bunny.
- And Sears Holdings
(NASDAQ:SHLD)may be a better real estate deal than a discount retailer.
Fool contributor Jeremy MacNealy does not own shares of any companies mentioned.