Kohl’s swings to surprise loss; warns on profit for year

Kohl’s swung to a surprise fourth-quarter loss and sales slumped as the department store was forced to slash prices to get customers to buy clothing as inflation squeezed family budgets, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The Menomonee Falls-based retailer also issued an annual profit outlook Wednesday that fell below Wall Street expectations, sending shares tumbling more than 7% in premarket trading.

A number of major retailers — Target, Walmart, and Home Depot among them — have issued weaker financial outlooks for 2023 in a challenging economic environment for Americans. But Kohl’s, which has been under pressure from activist shareholders to turn around its business, has been particularly hard hit because it focuses on clothing and it appeals to middle-income shoppers more vulnerable to rising prices.