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Kohl's Corp. (KSS)  posted weaker-than-expected first quarter earnings, and slashed its 2020 profit guidance, as comparable store sales at the struggling retailer slumped amid a "slower" start to the year.

Kohl's said adjusted earnings for the three months ending on May 4 came in at 61 cents per share, down 4.7% from the same period last year and well shy of the Street consensus of 68 cents per share. Group sales, Kohl's said, fell to $4.087 billion but beat analysts' forecasts of $3.97 billion.

Same store sales, however, tumbled 3.4% from last year, and the company's "conservative" outlook now means it sees earnings for the 2020 fiscal year of $5.15 to $5.45 each, down from a prior forecast of $5.80 to $6.15 per share.

"The year has started off slower than we'd like, with our first quarter sales coming in below our expectation. We are actively addressing the opportunities that impacted our first quarter sales and we have strong initiatives that will enhance our sales performance in the second half," said CEO Michelle Gass. "We are incredibly excited about our nationwide rollout of the Amazon returns program as well as several important brand launches and program expansions."

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"Operationally, the team reacted appropriately throughout the quarter by managing expenses in line with our expectations," she added. "While we are planning the year more conservatively, we continue to invest in our business and operate with a view on our long-term success."

Kohl's shares were marked 13.8% lower following the earning release to change hands at $54.29 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date decline to around 17%.

JCPenney (JCP) shares were also under pressure, falling 7% to $1.07 each after the Plano, Texas-based retailer said same-store sales slumped 5.5% from last year as the group posted a wider-than-expected adjusted first quarter loss of 46 cents per share.

JCPenney said some of that slide was due to the exit of major appliance and in-store furniture categories, part of the company's effort to slim product offerings and lower costs, but the slide has investors concerned for the health of mall-focused retailers in a changing consumer landscape.

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