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Kohl's took some lumps in 4Q

Menomonee Falls, Wis. - Kohl's managed through a challenging holiday season, taking a sharp hit in net income, sales and comps sales over the fourth quarter.

The home department outperformed the company average both in the quarter and for the full fiscal 2011, led by sales of electrics, executives told analysts during this morning's quarterly conference call.

"We lost some of our leadership on the price element of our value equation, we didn't enough consistent excitement in our merchandise content, and our sense is our marketing message did not cut through, especially in the highly-promotional fourth quarter," said chairman, president and ceo Kevin Mansell.

Earnings per share for the fourth quarter increased 9% to $1.81 and net income decreased 8% to $455 million. Sales of $6.0 billion were essentially flat, while comps fell 2.1%.

For the full year, EPS rose 17% to $4.30. Net income grew 4% to $1.17 billion. Sales
2.2% to $18.8 billion, with comparable store sales up just 0.5%.

Mansell offered an update on the performances of its brands over the quarter and 2011.

Overall, Kohl's private and exclusive brands made up just over 50% of total sales in 2011, representing more than 200 basis points higher than last year.

The company's three largest private brands - Apt. 9, Croft &  Barrow, and Sonoma - combined reported a 6% sales growth last year. Fila, Food Network, Lauren Conrad, and Simply Vera Vera Wang each produced double-digit sales growth.

The Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony "are resonating well with our most fashion-conscious customers and should add to our spring performance," Mansell said.


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