Third quarter profit at Kohl's Corporation climbed 18.7 per cent to $143.8 million, from $121.2m the department store chain said on Thursday.

For the quarter ended 30 October 2004 net sales grew to $2.7 billion from $2.4bn a year ago - an increase of 14.6 per cent. Comparable store sales rose 1.2 per cent for the period.

Nine month net income grew 20 per cent to $413.3m or $1.20 per diluted share, versus $344.3m or $1.00 per diluted share a year ago.

Net sales rose 13.4 per cent to $7.6bn from $6.7bn a year ago. Comparable store sales were static compared to the same period last year.

Larry Montgomery, Kohl's chairman and chief executive officer, said: "We are particularly excited about the customers' response to the new merchandise launches in the third quarter."

Kohl's, which operates 637 US stores in the US, is planning to open 95 new stores stores in fiscal 2005.