Declining retail sales has hit Kohl’s for the third straight quarter.
Despite reporting its third consecutive decline in quarterly sales on Tuesday (Aug. 20), the department store chain said business actually improved before the end of the period, and it is still on track for the year.
But analysts and investors are concerned that this year doesn’t appear to be as strong for the retailer as 2018, with shares falling 6.9 percent on Tuesday and 43 percent over the past year.
“There can be no doubt that Kohl’s has been blown off course,” said Neil Saunders, a managing director with GlobalData PLC, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Kohl’s reported that sales fell 3.1 percent to $4.4 billion, and sales at stores open at least a year fell 2.9 percent, for the quarter that ended Aug. 3. In addition, net income fell to $247 million from $292 million a year earlier.
Kohl’s Chief Executive Michelle Gass pointed out that business improved in the last six weeks of the quarter, with sales at stores open at least a year rising 1 percent. She added that the positive sales trend continued into August with a strong start for the back-to-school season.
One way the company is hoping to get more shoppers into the store by taking returns for Amazon purchases at all of its locations. Through the offering, the department store retailer will take Amazon items that are “eligible” without a label or a box. The retailer will then package the purchases before sending them to an Amazon return center.
Gass said the returns partnership is already bringing both new and existing customers into Kohl’s stores, particularly at off-peak times, and it is expected to be profitable for Kohl’s.
Kohl’s is also partnering with designers to launch exclusive collections for the holiday season, and is working with Facebook to discover emerging digital brands to feature in its stores.