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Q2 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 08/12/2010

Operator: Good morning. My name is Christie and I'll be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Kohl's Second Quarter 2010 Earnings Conference Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session.

Certain statements made on this call including projected financial results are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Kohl's intends forward-looking terminology such as 'believes,' 'expects,' 'may,' 'plans,' or similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, which could cause Kohl's actual results to differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those that are described in Item 1A in Kohl's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, and it'd be supplemented from time-to-time in Kohl's other filings with the SEC, all of which are expressly incorporated herein by reference.

Also please note that replays of this call will be available for 30 days, but this recording will not be updated. So if you're listening after August 12, it is possible that the information discussed is no longer current.

I would now like to turn the call over to Wes McDonald, Chief Financial Officer. Sir, you may begin.

Wes McDonald - CFO: Thank you. With me today is Kevin Mansell, Chairman, CEO and President. I'll go over our financial performance, and then Kevin will walk us through our four major focuses as a company – merchandising, marketing, inventory management, and store experience. We'll talk about our earnings guidance and then finally finish up with some more details about our new credit card agreement.

Total sales for the second quarter were approximately $4.1 billion this year, up 7.7% from last year. Comparable store sales for the quarter increased 4.6%, driven by an 8.3% increase in transactions per store. Units per transaction decreased 2%, and average unit retail decreased 1.7%.

Year-to-date, sales increased 9.3% to approximately $8.1 billion, and comparable store sales increased 5.9% on a 8.5% increase in transactions per store. Partially offsetting the increase in traffic was a 1.7 decrease in average unit retail, and a 0.9% decrease in units per transaction. Kevin will provide more color on our sales by region and line of business in a few minutes.

Our credit share was 48.6% for the quarter and 48.2% for the year, an increase of approximately of 160 basis points over the prior year quarter, and approximately 210 basis points over the first half of 2009.

Our gross margin rate for the quarter was 40.3%, up 31 basis points from last year, and consistent with our expectations of a 20 to 40 basis point improvement. Year-to-date our gross margin rate increased approximately 38 basis points to 39.2%. We would expect gross margin to increase 20 to 40 basis points in both the third and fourth quarters of this year.

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