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Kohl's is ready for spring

Kohl’s reported a profit of $334 million, or $1.56 per share, for the fourth quarter ended Feb. 1, down from $378 million, or $1.66 a share, a year earlier. The retailer attributed the dip to an increase in e-commerce shipping costs and holiday season markdowns.

But the retailer expressed confidence in its inventory levels and assortment, adding that it is well-positioned for spring and anticipates sales increases.

"We were pleased with our sales during the November and December holiday season as the customer responded favorably to our merchandise and values. Despite increased shipping costs related to our e-commerce business, we were able to achieve our gross margin guidance for the quarter," said chairman, president and CEO Kevin Mansell.

The retail calendar for fiscal Jan. 2013 included a fifth week, resulting in a 14-week fiscal fourth quarter and a 53-week year. During this 53rd week, total sales were $169 million; net income was $15 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.06.

Kohl’s ended the quarter with 1,158 stores in 49 states, compared with 1,146 stores at the same time last year. During 2013, the company opened 12 new stores and completed 30 remodels.

The company issued its initial guidance for fiscal 2014. Based on assumptions of total sales increases of 0.5% to 2.5% and comparable sales increases of 0 to 2%, the company expects earnings per diluted share of $4.05 to $4.45 for the year.