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Discount department store chain


(KSS) - Get Kohl's Corporation (KSS) Report

reported higher second-quarter earnings that beat the analyst consensus by 1 cent a share, helped by improved inventory control.

The company said Thursday after the bell that net income was $155.8 million, or 45 cents a share, in the quarter ended July 31, compared with $112.1 million, or 33 cents a share, a year ago. Total sales jumped 13.1% to $2.5 billion, while same-store sales fell 1.1%.

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Analysts were calling for 44 cents a share on sales of $2.51 billion. The company itself predicted earnings of 44 cents to 45 cents a share.

"We have made significant progress on our 2004 initiatives as evidenced by our strong earnings performance for the quarter," the company said in a press release. "We are very comfortable with the level and content of our inventory and the controls we have in place to maintain the appropriate level." The company had struggled with inventory issues and negative same-stores for much of 2003.

The company forecast a return to positive third-quarter same-store sales thanks to several new merchandise offerings launched earlier in the year, including a line by celebrity Daisy Fuentes. The company also will introduce other new merchandise offerings during the third quarter.

Kohl's plans to add 48 new stores in the current third quarter, entering markets in San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Montgomery, Ala. The company plans to open 95 stores in 2005.

Shares of the company were falling 2 cents to $43.71 in after-hours trading. The stock closed the regular Thursday session down $1.38, or 3.1%, at $43.70.