Kohl's Profit Jumps

The retailer's earnings beat by a penny a share, though sales are slightly short of forecasts.
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Department-store operator

Kohl's

(KSS) - Get Report

posted an 18% rise in fourth-quarter earnings amid improved gross margins, though sales for the period came in slightly below Wall Street's forecast.

The Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based company's profit rose to $374.9 million, or $1.08 a share, from $318.8 million, or 92 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales rose to $4.65 billion from $4.08 billion, as same-store sales grew 2.7%.

According to Thomson First Call, analysts were expecting earnings of $1.07 a share and sales of $4.72 billion.

"We made tremendous progress on our 2005 initiatives and are very pleased with the bottom-line results for the quarter and the year," said Chairman and Chief Executive Larry Montgomery in a statement. "We concentrated on inventory management, resulting in lower clearance levels and the best gross margin performance in our history."

Kohl's shares recently rose 14 cents in after-hours trading to $44.65.