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(KSS) - Get Report

earnings gained 6% during the first quarter, matching analysts' expectations of 73 cents a share.

For the quarter ended March 31, Kohl's earned $211 million, or 73 cents a share, up from $199 million, or 64 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Net sales increased 3.1% to $4.16 billion from $4.04 billion. Wall Street forecasted revenue of $4.26 billion. Comparable-store sales rose 1.3% for the quarter.

"We are pleased that we were able to achieve double-digit growth in earnings per share through strong expense management and continued gross margin improvement," Chairman, President and CEO Kevin Mansell said in a statement. "Our E-Commerce business remains on track to achieve $1 billion in sales in 2011."

Management expects to see "pent-up demand for seasonal businesses" which will allow the company to "achieve a better comp and even stronger financial results in the second quarter," Mansell said.

Kohl's expects second-quarter earnings of between 96 cents and $1.02 a share.

The company also raised its earnings guidance range for fiscal 2011 to $4.25 to $4.40 a share, from its initial guidance of $4.05 to $4.25 a share, reflecting its first- quarter results and expected second-quarter share repurchases.

--Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

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