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Kohl’s losses surge on coronavirus closures

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imageStock Markets7 hours ago (May 19, 2020 08:20AM ET)

(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The sign outside a Kohl’s store is seen in Broomfield, Colorado

(Reuters) – Kohl’s Corp (N:KSS) reported a surge in online sales in its coronavirus-hit first quarter on Tuesday and said it had reopened nearly half its stores as lockdowns eased across the United States, sending its shares around 5% higher.

Kohl’s was forced to close all its U.S. stores to curb the spread of the virus, hammering sales and sending shares in the retailer some 63% lower so far this year.

But the company said that online sales rose 24% overall in the quarter and more than 60% in April, dwarfing earlier growth as the chain limited operations to its app and website.

“We have begun the rebuilding process, recently reopening about 50% of our stores across the country,” Michelle Gass, chief executive officer, said.

The company, which owns over 1,100 stores in the United States, had earlier withdrawn its full-year forecast, suspended share buyback plan and borrowed money to combat the pandemic’s impact. At the end of the quarter, the company had $2 billion in cash at hand.

The results come at a time peers when J.Crew, Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney (N:JCP) have filed for bankruptcy protection due to huge losses.

Department stores have been struggling even before the pandemic as consumers shift to online shopping and competition from fast-fashion brands add to the pressure.

For the quarter ended May 2, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based Kohl’s reported a bigger-than-expected loss due to store closures and said net sales fell about 44% to $2.16 billion.

The company reported net loss of $541 million, or $3.50 per share. Excluding one-time items, it lost $3.20 per share, missing Wall Street expectation of a $1.80 loss, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Kohl’s online sales surge amid lockdown, reopens about half of its stores

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