Kohl's Corp KSS
Q4 2011 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 02/23/2012

Operator: Good morning. My name is Christie, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time I would like to welcome everyone to the Kohl's Quarter Fourth and Fiscal 2011 Earnings 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 terminologies such as believe, expect, may, will, should, anticipate, plans, or similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to certain risk 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/A and as may be supplemented from time-to-time in Kohl's other filings with the SEC, all of which are expressively 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 So, if you are listening after February 23, it is possible that the information discussed is no longer current. Thank you.

I will now turn the conference over to Wes McDonald, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Wes McDonald - SEVP and CFO: Thank you. With me today is Kevin Mansell, our Chairman and CEO and President. I will walk through the financial statements for the fourth quarter and the year and then I'll turn it over to Kevin to talk about some merchandising and marketing initiatives. We will give first quarter and 2012 guidance and then Kevin will wrap it up with a summary of our outlook for the year.

For the quarter, total sales decreased 0.3% to $6 billion and comparable store sales decreased 2.1%. Average transaction value increased 0.4%, reflecting a 7.4% increase in average unit retail, and a 7% decline in units per transaction. Number of transactions per store decreased 2.5%.

For the year, total sales increased 2.2% to $18.8 billion and comparable store sales increased 0.5%. Average unit retail increased 6.6% and units per transaction decreased 4.9%, resulting in a 1.7% increase in average transaction value. Number of transactions per store decreased 1.2%. Kevin will provide more color on our sales in a few minutes.

Our credit share was 53% for the quarter, and 54% for the year, an increase of approximately 320 basis points over the fourth quarter of 2010 and 470 basis points over fiscal 2010.

Moving on to gross margin; for the quarter, gross margin decreased 64 basis points to 36.2% of sales for the quarter. The decrease is primarily a result of sales being below our expectations. For the year, our gross margin rate decreased 6 basis points to 38.2% of sales. SG&A increased 0.3% for the quarter, well below our expectations of a 5% to 6% increase, but deleveraged 12 basis points. Store payroll was able to leverage for the quarter.

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