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Strong Finish Lifts Kohl’s Q3

After a shaky first half of the year, Kohl’s Corp. has reported that its momentum rebounded as the third quarter closed, with total sales increasing 2.6% and comparable store sales increasing 1.1%. For the four-week month ended October 27, total sales increased 4.6% while comparable store sales increased 3.3% over the four-week month ended October 29, 2011.

Kohl’s October comp beat a Thompson Reuter’s analyst average estimate of 1.1%

The company said that the Midwest was its strongest region in terms of sales increase, and that Children’s had the best revenue advance among store departments.

Kohl’s also said in a statement that, in fiscal year 2013, it would end its practice of reporting monthly sales results to “align with the wishes of its investors and the practice of the majority of its retail peers.”

Standard & Poor’s analyst Jason Asaeda, in a research note on Kohl’s latest financial results, said that consumers resisted price increases the retailer made in the fall of last year. But, since seeing sales suffer, Kohl’s has focused on regaining price leadership. Shoppers have responded positively to lower prices, he said, in opening pricepoints particularly. However, low inventory levels as the company retrenched left sales on the table earlier in the year, a situation management promised to address. The latest results indicate that customers are better satisfied by what they are finding in stores.

In published research note content, market analyst Zacks said that, overall, it found Kohl’s prudent expense management, brand portfolio and growing e-commerce business encouraging, but it retained concerns about rising commodity costs, volatility in the financial markets and overall uncertainty in the macroeconomic environment.

Kohl’s operates 1,146 stores in 49 states versus 1,127 stores at this time last year.