Here's why Kohl's problems are typical of retail in general

A Kohl’s department store in Jersey City, New Jersey.
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Kohl's is emblematic of the problem with retailers: shifting consumer tastes with no clear path to revenue growth.

The company , and said full-year earnings would be at the low range of the previous guidance of $4.40 to $4.60.

This, after a disappointing report from Macy's.

It's not looking great for department stores.

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This problem did not appear in the second quarter, however. The simple fact is that retailers cannot get any revenue growth. Look at Kohl's revenue for the last few years.

Kohl's Annual Revenue (billions)

  • 2012: $19.2
  • 2013: $19.0
  • 2014: $19.0
  • 2015 (est.): $19.0
  • 2016 (est.): $19.3

That's $19 billion a year. For five years. Zero revenue growth. Nada.

Modest growth in earnings is coming from buybacks and constant cost-cutting.