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Kohl's climbs

Menomonee Falls, WI — While it seems that the rest of the retail world is struggling to remain productive in the face of a flagging economy, Kohl's continues to steam along, reporting a 19.3 percent increase in fourth quarter profits, as it prepares for its market entry in Southern California this weekend.

The company reported fourth quarter profits increased to $19.3 percent to $279 million, or $0.81 a diluted share, compared to $233.8 million, or $0.68 a share last year. Top-line sales registered $3.18 billion, compared to $2.72 billion a year earlier, an increase of 16.9 percent. Comparable stores increased 1.9 percent, the company reported.

For the full year, profits rose 29.8 percent to $643.4 million, $1.87 a share, compared to $495.7 million, or $1.45 a share, the year before. Sales increased 21.8 percent to $9.1 billion, compared to $7.5 billion for the year earlier period. Comparable stores rose 5.3 percent.

This weekend the company will open 28 stores in Southern California, as it extends its reach to both oceans for the first time.