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Retail briefs

Kohl's cuts earnings forecast

With its transaction rates faltering and inventories up 17 percent over than last, Kohl's last week whittled its third quarter earnings forecast from 44 cents per share down to 35 cents — well below analysts' expectations of 42 cents.

The company reported that average transaction per store this year has decreased 5.9 percent on a comp-store basis. The average transaction value on a comp basis during the month of October fell 5.7 percent, largely due to lower sales of higher-ticket items. Kohl's will release its third quarter earnings report Nov. 13.

Research firm predicts holiday gains for '04

America's Research Group founder Britt Beemer is projecting that holiday sales this year will post a 4.8 percent gain over 2003 as consumers spend more per usual on individual gifts and buy more gifts than they did previously.

The top price range for this year is $36 to $50, up from last year's $21 to $25. In a piece of good news for the home furnishings industry, Beemer reports that the number of Americans planning to entertain this year is at a 10-year high. Other hot trends for holiday 2004: gift certificates/gift cards, consumer interest in 50 percent off promotions, affinity credit card programs, eBay and Internet shopping.

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