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Kohl's Trims Earnings Guidance

Promotional department store operator Kohl's joined the retail chorus of lamentation, reporting third-quarter net earnings of $194.0 million, down 13.6% from $224.5 million in the year-ago period.

Sales were up 4.8% to $3.8 billion, while comp sales fell 2.6%.

The 929-store chain was not exactly disconsolate, however, as year-to-date results featured a better-than-class net income rise of 7.7% to $672.2 million, on an 8.3% sales increase to $11.0 billion, and the company has thus far eked out a comp gain of 0.7%.

"I am very proud of our associates and the role they played in delivering these results and want to thank them for their hard work, loyalty and dedication to serving our customers," said chairman and ceo Larry Montgomery. He added, "Our sales results reflected a difficult overall environment."

There was "better performance" in home, specifically in home décor, bedding and food prep categories, noted Kevin Mansell, president, although he said the real leaders for the quarter were fashion accessories, with extra energy in beauty, watches and fine jewelry.

Mansell said private labels and exclusive brands now comprise nearly 40% of sales, a trend accelerating with the recent debuts of SimplyVera Vera Wang in apparel and Food Network in kitchen wares. And just this month the retailer reached an agreement to become the exclusive U.S. purveyor of FILA Sport goods in activewear and footwear.

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