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Retailers Update Guidance Based on Jan. Results

Buoyed by positive comp store sales results in January, several retailers updated their guidance for the coming quarter.

At Kohl’s, strong inventory and expense management and strong January comp results have led the mid-price department store to raise its fourth quarter earnings per share guidance from $1.28 to $1.30 per share to $1.36 to $1.37 per share.

For Macy’s, expectations got a boost from better-than-expected sales, expense management and gross margins, as well as a favorable tax settlement. The department store chain increased its fourth quarter EPS guidance to $1.35 to $1.37, excluding restructuring-related costs. It previously forecast EPS of $1.14 to $1.18. For the full year, Macy’s anticipates earnings per share of $1.36 to $1.38, excluding restructuring-related costs. That’s up from earlier guidance of $1.15 to $1.19 per share.

“Our company’s sales and earnings results for the month and quarter reinforce the confidence we have in the strategic direction of our business,” said Terrry Lundgren, chairman, president and ceo. “It’s noteworthy that all 10 of Macy’s top-performing geographic markets in 2009 were original My Macy’s pilot districts, indicating ongoing momentum from the process of tailoring local assortments and shopping experiences as this strategy is rolling out nationally. Now that we have implemented fundamental changes to Macy’s operating and organization structure in 2009, we are moving into 2010 firmly focused on the execution of our strategies.”

Ross Stores updated its profit forecast for the 13 weeks ended Jan. 30, with earnings per share now estimated to increase 51% to 53% to $1.15 to $1.16, up from 76 cents in same period last year. For full year, earnings per share are estimated to grow about 52% to $3.53 to $3.54, up from $2.33 in the previous year.

TJX Companies now expects fourth quarter fiscal 2010 diluted earnings per share from continuing operations from 90 to 91 cents, up 55% to 57% over 58 cents per share last year.

The off-pricer also upped its guidance for full year fiscal 2010 earnings per share from continuing operations to in range of $2.80 to $2.81, up 35% over $2.08 per share last year.

Jo-Ann Stores expects fourth-quarter earnings per share from $1.32 to $1.34, compared to 79 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Full year earnings per share are were raised to $2.47 to $2.49 from the previous forecast of $1.95 to $2.05.

Fred’s, however, lowered its forecast based on a sales shortfall in the fourth quarter. It now expects earnings for the quarter in the range 14 to 16 cents per share. It estimates earnings for the year to fall between 59 to 61 cents per share — representing a 40% to 45% increase over 2008.

“While ending a challenging year with earnings short of expectations, [Fred’s] has continued to see improvement in the quality and strength of its balance sheet,” the retailer said.

Looking ahead to 2010, Fred’s said it is “optimistic that financial improvement will continue” and expects diluted earnings per share to 68 to 75 cents for the year. It also projects flat comparable store sales and earnings per share in the range of 15 to 20 cents. Sales and earnings are expected to accelerate throughout 2010, as its initiatives and marketing programs “gain momentum.”

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