US department store group Kohl's Corporation has reported a 32.8 per cent rise in fourth quarter profit on lowered clearance levels and good gross margin.

Net income totalled $324.9 million compared to the $244.8m reported in the year-before period, while net sales increased to $4.1 billion from $3.6bn last year.

Same-store sales rose 1.3 per cent for the same period.

For the full year, Kohl's reported a 25.7 per cent net income increase to $730.4m from $580.9m last year.

Net sales rose to $11.7bn from $10.3 bn a year ago. Same-store sales increased 0.3 percent from last year.

Kohl's chairman and chief executive officer Larry Montgomery said the company was satisfied with its bottom-line results, and that it had seen "significantly lower clearance levels and the best gross margin performance in our history."

He added that the business would continue to push towards share gains "through differentiation."

Kohl's Corporation sells apparel, shoes, accessories and home products through its 637 stores throughout the US and plans to open about 95 new stores in financial 2005.