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Kohl's continues strong sales gains in 3Q

Menomonee Falls, WI — Still building sales at a heady pace, all the while cutting costs and building margins, Kohl's Corp. put up a third-quarter profit of $133.4 million, up 29.9 percent from $175.8 million last year.

Outpacing most of its peers in the retail arena, Kohl's drove sales up by 21.8 percent, to $2.1 billion from $1.7 billion as it continued to open new doors across the country. The bottom-line barometer of same-store sales rose by 5.9 percent.

Providing a lift to earnings, along with the sharply stronger sales, Kohl's kept cutting away at costs, reducing its overhead by 40 basis points, to 21.2 percent of sales from 21.6 percent a year ago.

At the same time, margins held relatively steady, inching up by 10 basis points, to 34.7 percent from 34.6 percent. Gross margin dollars improved by 22.4 percent, to $746.9 million from $610.4 million.

Unlike others retailers, Kohl's doesn't seem to be hedging its bets about business going forward and keeps building inventory to keep pace with sales. Stockpiles rose by 22.1 percent, to $2.1 billion from $1.7 billion last year, running slightly ahead of the rate of sales growth, at 21.8 percent.

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