Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) reported same-store sales in June that were down 4.9%. But -- surprise! -- the company has an excuse. No, not weather, a favorite of retailers. Kohl's has decided to blame the calendar. Apparently, Memorial Day was early this year and May sales counted. Still, it seems like an awfully big drop to me for one day (or even the weekend). Perhaps it would be more plausible if the two months combined showed decent growth. But same-store sales for the quarter are up only a tepid 1.8%.

I have another explanation. High gas prices may be affecting consumers. The weak housing market is also likely taking a toll. For instance, Target (NYSE:TGT) last month announced it expected June sales to be at the low end of its previous forecast. J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) same-store sales were also down 1.5% for the month.

But I think Kohl's is also facing company-specific issues that the Rothman house finds very annoying. It is constantly running sales at its stores in ways that confuse customers. In addition, it seems to be alienating its customers by announcing sales and then running them a day or so earlier. Those customers will go to the store on the assigned day only to find certain items were on sale the day before, and are thus out of stock. This was one of the problems at J.C. Penney before it righted itself.

July is a key month, with back-to-school sales starting. (Is that a cheer I hear coming from parents, or a groan from the kids?) The company expects this month's SSS to be in the mid-single digits. It still expects to earn $0.81-$0.85 a share. Stay tuned!

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Fool contributor Larry Rothman is happy to receive feedback, and promises to read it when not being wrestled by his three children. Feel free to e-mail him at rothmanviews@comcast.net. He doesn't have any positions in the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.