Kohl's roars back in Q1, but 2021 outlook spooks Wall Street
NEW YORK (AP) — Kohl’s raised its financial outlook for the year after a solid rebound in the first quarter from the devastating impact of the pandemic.
But those raised expectations fell short of what many industry analysts had been expecting and shares plunged 12% Thursday.
More shoppers came back to shop in stores as COVID-19 vaccinations become more common and Kohl's bounced back to a profit after the chain, based in Menomonee Fall, Wisconsin, lost money last year when it was forced close its doors along with thousands of other retailers.
Quarterly sales and profits topped almost all expectations, but Kohl's said it expects net sales to increase only in the mid-to-high teens percentage range. That spooked investors.
“Kohl’s is either being conservative and cautious with its forecasts – which is understandable given how uncertain everything remains – or lacks confidence that its various initiatives and a strong consumer economy will deliver results as quickly as investors might like," wrote Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData. ”Either way, the suggestion is that Kohl’s will, overall, lose market share over the course of 2021."
Like Kohl’s, a number of major retailers have posted banner numbers for the first quarter this week as shoppers, newly vaccinated, come out of hibernation.
“The U.S. consumer is in a stronger position,” said CEO Michelle Gass during a call with analysts Thursday. “Spending has picked up driven by stimulus, easing COVID restrictions and people resuming more normalcy in their daily lives.”
The company had pushed to reinvigorate stores before the pandemic struck, announcing late last year that Sephora would replace all cosmetics areas at Kohl’s with 2,500 square foot shops. It's building on that initiative and said Thursday that it...