Kohl's Corp KSS
Q4 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 02/28/2013

Operator: Good morning. My name is Brent and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I'd like to welcome everyone to the Kohl's Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2012 Earnings Release 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, will, should, anticipates, 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 as may be supplemented from time to time in Kohl's other filings with the SEC, all of which are especially incorporated herein by reference. Also, please note that replays of this recording will not be updated. So, if you're listening after February 28, it is possible that the information discussed is no longer current.

Thank you. I would now like to turn the call over to Wes McDonald, Chief Financial Officer. Please go ahead, sir.

Wes McDonald - SEVP and CFO: Thank you. With me today is Kevin Mansell, our President, Chairman and CEO. I'll walk through the balance sheet and P&L and give you some forward-looking guidance and Kevin will take you through some of our merchandising and marketing strategies for 2013.

As a reminder, the 2012 fiscal year was a 53-week year for accounting purposes. All results reported today are 53-week results with the exception of comp sales metrics. Details on the impact of the 53rd week are available in the text of the earnings release. Comp sales increased 1.9% for the quarter and up 30 basis points for the year. The quarterly comp increase reflects a 4.2% increase in units per transaction offset by a 2.5% decrease in average unit retail. Transactions were essentially flat for the quarter. For the year, average unit retail increased 1.8% and transactions per store decreased 1.5%. Units per transaction were flat for the year.

Total sales increased 5.4% to $6.3 billion for the quarter and 2.5% to $19.3 billion for the year.

Kohl's charge sales penetration increased 80 basis points to 54% of total sales for the quarter. Our annual credit share was 56%, an increase of 130 basis points over fiscal 2011. Kevin will provide more color on our sales in a few minutes.

Our gross margin rate for the quarter was 33.3%, approximately 290 basis points lower than the fourth quarter of last year.

SG&A increased 3% for the quarter, better than our expectations of up 3.5% to 4.5%. SG&A as a percent of sales leveraged approximately 40 basis points for both the quarter and the year.

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