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Kohl’s merchants to make mark; 1Q profits up

MENOMONEE FALLS , Wis. — Kohl’s new merchants in home will start to make an impact in the second half of the year, particularly the fourth quarter, with new assortments and the introduction of new brands and presentations, executives said during the company’s first quarter conference call today.

The company is also looking to fill out its product development staff.

“The stores look better, and the changes we’ve made in merchandise presentation to make it easier for the customers to find what they’re looking for have been noticed,” said Larry Montgomery, Kohl’s chairman and CEO. “We’ll continue to use new methods to attract new customers and get the occasional customer to increase their frequency.”

Helped by stronger same-store sales and continued expansion, first-quarter profits climbed 21 percent, to $124.7 million from $103.1 million last year.

Sales increased 15.2 percent, to $2.7 billion from $2.4 billion last year, while the crucial test of same-store sales rose by 3.7 percent.

Going forward, Larry Montgomery, chairman and CEO, forecast growth in same-store sales in the mid single-digits for the balance of the year, and earnings growth of about 20 percent.

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