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Kohl's Nov. revenue metric falls, surprises Street

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. (AP) -- Kohl's revenue at stores open at least a year fell 5.6 percent in November, surprising Wall Street.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a 1.9 percent rise in the figure.

Revenue at stores open at least a year is a key gauge of a retailer's health, because it excludes results from stores recently opened or closed and measures growth only at continuing locations.

Shares of Kohl's Corp. dropped $5.20, or 10.2 percent, to $45.95 in premarket trading on Thursday.

For the four weeks ended Nov. 24, total revenue for the department store operator declined 4.9 percent to $1.84 billion. The weakest regions were the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, which were impacted by Superstorm Sandy, but Kohl's said all regions reported negative sales for the month.

Chairman, President and CEO Kevin Mansell said in a statement that November sales came in below expectations, but that results improved over Thanksgiving week. He noted that Black Friday-related sales seemed to shift to online. Online sales for Thanksgiving week rose more than 50 percent, but most of these sales will be reported with December results, Mansell said.

The November to December holiday season is critical for retailers, as it can make up as much as 40 percent of their annual revenue.

Year-to-date revenue at stores open at least a year fell 1.1 percent, while total revenue edged up slightly to $14.77 billion.

Earlier this month, Kohl's reported that its third-quarter net income rose about 2 percent, but the Menomonee Falls, Wis. company issued a disappointing profit prediction for the current quarter and cut its earnings prediction for the full year.

Kohl's runs 1,146 stores in 49 states.