Kohl’s on Thursday said final and fully financed bids from potential buyers are expected in the approaching weeks, because the retailer faces heightened pressure from activists to sell.
Chief Executive Officer Michelle Gass said Kohl’s has been “pleased with the variety of parties who recognize the worth of our business and plan.”
The retailer’s stock was up barely in early trading after the corporate posted a large earnings miss for its fiscal first quarter and slashed its profit and sales outlook for the yr. Gass, in a press release, said that 2022 started off below her expectations.
Home goods and kids’s items were the largest underperformers, while men’s clothing was one vivid spot.
“Sales considerably weakened in April as we encountered macro headwinds related to lapping last yr’s stimulus and an inflationary consumer environment,” Gass said. But, she noted, because the weather turned warmer in May more people headed to stores to replenish on recent spring clothes and accessories.
Kohl’s joins a growing list of major retailers, including Walmart and Goal, which have seen logistics and staffing expenses eat into profits amid 40-year-high inflation. These corporations have also began to see American consumers adjust spending behavior as they face higher prices on all the things from milk to workout clothes. Kohl’s said Thursday that it doesn’t anticipate inflation to abate within the near future.
Kohl’s now expects fiscal 2022 adjusted earnings per share of $6.45 to $6.85, compared with its prior forecast of $7.00 to $7.50.
Net sales are forecast to be flat to up 1% from year-ago levels, compared with prior guidance of up 2% to three%.
Here’s how Kohl’s did within the three-month period ended April 30, compared with what Wall Street was anticipating, in keeping with a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:
- Earnings per share: 11 cents vs. 70 cents expected
- Revenue: $3.72 billion vs. $3.68 billion expected
Kohl’s for its fiscal first quarter reported net income of $14 million, or 11 cents per share, compared with $14 million, or 9 cents per share, a yr earlier. That was in need of analysts’ expectations for 70 cents a share.
Sales fell to $3.72 billion from $3.89 billion a yr earlier though still beat analysts’ estimates for revenue of $3.68 billion.
Kohl’s said comparable sales fell 5.2%. Analysts had been on the lookout for a 0.5% increase.
The dismal results from Kohl’s come amid the retailer’s highly watched sale process. Kohl’s has been facing pressure to seek out a recent owner ever since activist hedge fund Macellum Advisors in January pushed for the corporate to achieve this, arguing that Gass hasn’t done enough to grow sales.
Macellum was also pushing to overhaul Kohl’s board of directors, but it surely wasn’t successful. Last week, Kohl’s shareholders voted to reelect the corporate’s current slate of 13 board directors, trumping Macellum’s proposal. Still, the activist group responded that it is going to be holding Kohl’s accountable for its decisions within the months ahead.
Gass, who assumed the CEO role at Kohl’s in May 2018, has tried quite a few strategies to lure customers into stores, including signing a partnership with Amazon and adding Sephora beauty shops to a whole lot of Kohl’s locations. The corporate has also invested massively in its activewear business, as more consumers search out comfortable clothing over dresses and blazers.
But skepticism is piling up around whether Gass’ plans are yielding results.
“Walking right into a Kohl’s store is an unexciting experience, which is why some customers have stopped visiting and why others are buying less once they do visit,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail.
Kohl’s said in a securities filing Wednesday evening that its chief merchandising officer and chief marketing officer are departing the retailer. A spokeswoman said a seek for successors is already underway.
Ron Murray, a long-tenured merchandising executive, will function interim chief merchandising officer, the corporate said. Christie Raymond, vp of customer engagement, media and analytics, shall be interim chief marketing officer.
Kohl’s shares have fallen about 11% to this point this yr.