Kohl's surprises to the upside

Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) reported second quarter earnings that were better than expected, thanks to inventory management initiatives and warm summer weather.

While sales slipped 2 percent for the quarter compared to last year and comp-store sales declined 1.8 percent, net income rose nearly 8 percent to $140 million for the quarter. Excluding non-recurring items, net income rose 5 percent.

It's a big reversal for Kohl's which reported 3.7 percent drop in sales for the first quarter compared to the same period the year before, a 3.9 percent decline in comp-store sales and a 55 percent plunge in net income.

"Our sales improved over our first quarter results, but were below our expectations. Our inventory management initiatives helped us to achieve a strong increase in gross margin with ending inventory per store down significantly from last year," CEO Kevin Mansell said in a statement. "Our associates throughout the organization continue to effectively manage expenses in response to changing sales trends and I appreciate all of their efforts."

Mansell said he's encouraged by early trends for back-to-school sales and continued efforts to control costs. Earlier this year the company announced it would close underperforming stores and experiment with new formats.

For more:

For more:
- see this Kohl's press release