Kohl’s shares could pop 50 percent as Amazon partnership ramps up

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Kohl’s is “sleeping with the enemy” and that’s a good thing, according to Jefferies analyst Randal Konik.

It’s no surprise Amazon has been dubbed the enemy of the retail world, stealing market share from traditional players. But some (including Nike and Sears) have decided it’s better to work with the e-commerce giant than clash and compete.

Last October, Kohl’s started selling Amazon’s smart home products and accepting the online retailer’s returns at a handful of its U.S. stores. Since then, some people have made the case for Amazon outright acquiring Kohl’s for its real estate and loyal customer base.

The partnership between the two is a “win for both companies,” Konik said Friday. “We anticipate the pilot to roll out nationally and provide KSS stores with stronger traffic and is a nice added convenience for AMZN shoppers.”

Jefferies raised its price target on Kohl’s stock to $100 from $66. That represents a gain of more than 50 percent from Thursday’s closing price of $64.85.

Kohl’s shares climbed around 3 percent Friday after the Jefferies report.

Kohl’s has been ramping up its own ship-from-store capabilities, investing more in its private labels and making a “clear commitment” to the athletic category by bringing in Under Armour merchandise, Konik said, all of which are helping to fuel sales.

The company gets an added benefit from being located off-mall, where customer traffic is typically stronger, and Konik expects a further boost as peers like J.C. Penney and Macy’s shutter stores.

Meanwhile, the retailer is testing smaller store formats of about 35,000 square feet. In some instances, Kohl’s plans to lease portions of its bigger boxes to other tenants — potentially grocers or convenience stores, Kohl’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mansell recently told CNBC.

A lower corporate tax rate is also expected to benefit the company and drive earnings higher, he said. Kohl’s is set to report fourth-quarter earnings and full-year results on March 1, when the company will share more details on any impact from new tax legislation.

Coming off a strong holiday season, where same-store sales jumped nearly 7 percent from the year prior, Mansell said more people were shopping Kohls.com and purchasing items across all categories.

Kohl’s shares have climbed more than 63 percent from a year ago.



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