| Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Kohl’s sales were down about 11% in the most recent quarter that includes the critical holiday shopping period, the Menomonee Falls, Wisconisn-based retailer said Thursday. This is the best quarter comparatively since the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the USA. The worst was in the first quarter of 2020 – sales were down more than 40%. Sales were down about 22% and 13% in the second and third quarters, respectively. The preliminary results for the company’s fourth-quarter ending Jan. 30 were announced in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.”We are very pleased with the continued progress we are making against the strategic framework we outlined in October 2020,” Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief executive officer, said in a news release. “Our fourth quarter performance exceeded our expectations across all key metrics with sales strengthening as we moved through the period.” Reviewed: Kohl’s launches an enormous end-of-season sale on home goods galoreDigital sales were up more than 20% and accounted for more than 40% of net sales, Gass said. Last spring, the pandemic shut down stores and caused consumers to tighten spending. In an effort to cut costs, Kohl’s reduced its corporate workforce by 15% last fall, expecting to save $65 million annually. “As we carry this momentum into 2021, we are confident that our key strategic initiatives will accelerate our top line growth and expand our operating margin,” Gass said in the news release. “Our partnership with Sephora will launch this Fall in 200 stores and online, commencing a multi-year buildout that will drive significant growth for Kohl’s.”Kohl’s stock has slowly rebounded after dropping in March as the pandemic prompted store closures. The stock, which started 2020 trading around $50 a share, plummeted to a low of $10.89. The stock price started to increase this fall. It closed Wednesday at $43.36 a share. Kohl’s will release finalized earnings next month. It will hold a quarterly earnings conference call March 2. Sarah Hauer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram @HauerSarah and Twitter @SarahHauer. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter Be MKE at jsonline.com/bemke.