by Brian Lipton

Kohls_StoreStruggling Wisconsin-based retailer Kohl’s now expects its fiscal 2015 diluted earnings per share to be $3.40 to $3.45. Excluding debt extinguishment losses recorded in prior quarters, fiscal 2015 diluted earnings per share is expected to be $3.95-$4, down from its previously stated guidance of toward the low end of $4.40 to $4.60 per diluted share. The company will release its detailed report on the fourth quarter and fiscal 2015 on February 25.

The company’s stock dropped nearly 15 percent on Wednesday, closing at 43.50.

Kohl’s also reported updated fourth quarter results, including the fact comparable sales increased 0.4 percent and fiscal 2015 comparable sales increased 0.7 percent. Total sales increased 0.8 percent for the fourth quarter and 1.0 percent for fiscal 2015.

“While we experienced our fifth consecutive quarter of positive comparable sales increases, sales were very volatile and less than planned in the fourth quarter,” said Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, chief executive officer and president. “We experienced a very strong holiday selling season from the week of Thanksgiving through Christmas. These results were offset by a very slow start to the quarter in early November and a weaker-than-expected January as soft demand for cold-weather goods led to lower store traffic in these more discretionary shopping periods. However, we were pleased with the performance of our digital business as online generated orders and sales each grew approximately 30 percent during the quarter. Our ability to provide both ship-from-store and buy online, pickup in store capabilities in all stores really resonated with our customer.”

The lowered guidance is due in large part to warmer-than-expected weather in the Northeast and an increase in promotional sales, according to the company.