Rapidly-expanding apparel chain Kohl's Corp on Thursday announced a 9.8 per cent slide in second quarter net profit from the same period of 2002 as its performance was hampered by wet weather and bulging inventories.

The Wisconsin-based company reported net income for the second quarter ended August 2 of $112.1 million, or 33 cents per share, from $124.4 million, or 36 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Net sales rose 14.9 per cent year-on-year to $2.2 billion while same-store store sales rose 1.1 per cent.

Kohl's plans to open another 50 stores in the second half which will mean it opens 85 new shops before the end of this year. It will open about 95 new stores in fiscal 2004.

President Kevin Mansell said: "We're not happy with the second quarter or the first half sales performance overall, but we are pleased with the liquidation of our clearance and the repositioning of our inventories for back to school and for the fall season.

"We are now well ahead of last year's liquidation in our kids, young men's and juniors area as we enter back to school."

Kohl's added it sees third quarter same-store sales up three per cent and plans to end that period with inventories up in the mid-teen percentage levels.