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Kohl's same-store sales increase, shares rise

The sign outside the Kohl's store in Westminster, Colorado August 14, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
The sign outside the Kohl's store in Westminster, Colorado August 14, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

(Reuters) - Department store chain Kohl's Corp reported a rise in quarterly comparable-store sales, boosting its shares, after downbeat sales reports from Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Macy's Inc raised fears of a slowdown in consumer spending.

Shares of Kohl's, which caters to price-sensitive middle-class shoppers, rose 6 percent in early trading.

The S&P 500 Department Stores Index <.SPLRCRETD> closed down 2.2 percent on Wednesday, after Macy's reported an unexpected decline in sales saying consumers hesitated to spend on non-essential items in a weak economy.

Discount chain Wal-Mart also reported a fall in comparable store sales on Thursday.

"There was a lot of relief their (Kohl's) comparable sales rose after yesterday's poor numbers from Macy's and earlier warnings from Aeropostale and American Eagle Outfitters ," Edward Jones analyst Brian Yarbrough said.

Teen-apparel retailers Aeropostale and American Eagle earlier this month dressed down their profit outlooks, citing weak sales and margins.

Second-quarter same-store sales at Kohl's rose 0.9 percent but fell short of the average analyst estimate of a rise of 1.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Overall sales rose 2 percent to $4.29 billion, in line with analysts' estimates.

The company's shares were up 5 percent at $53.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Kohl's said it expects third-quarter earnings in the range of 83 cents to 92 cents per share. Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 94 cents per share.

Kohl's said net income fell 4 percent to $231 million in the quarter ended August 3, from $240 million a year earlier.

However, profit rose to $1.04 from $1.00 on a per-share basis, as the average number of shares outstanding decreased.

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore and Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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