Kohl's Comes Clean on Not-So-Hot Holiday Shopping Season

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It turns out it wasn’t the prettiest of holiday shopping seasons for Kohl’s (KSS) - Get Report after all.

Shares of the clothing and accessories retailer took a turn for the worse after the company said sales during the critical holiday shopping season rang in lower than a year ago – down 0.2%, to be exact – thanks to lackluster sales in women’s clothing.

“We continue to see momentum in key areas including our digital business, active, beauty and children’s, and solid performance in footwear and men’s,” CEO Michelle Gass said. “This was offset by softness in women’s, which we are working with speed to address.”

Still, the sales slip prompted Gass to walk back the department store chain’s full-year earnings expectations.

Kohl’s now expects fiscal 2019 per-share earnings to be at the low end of its previously announced guidance range of $4.75 to $4.95. The guidance excludes 22 cents a share related to debt and impairment write-offs, store closings and other costs.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting full-year earnings of $4.88 a share. Kohl's is scheduled to announce fourth-quarter earnings on March 3. That will be followed by the company's 2020 Investor Day, to be held in New York on March 20.

The news certainly didn’t do much to quell analysts’ concerns about the retail.

Several analysts have downgraded the company in recent days, including Jefferies analyst Randal Konik, who this week cut his rating on the stock to hold from buy citing the prospect of disappointing comparable-store sales and declining profit margins.