Customers leave a Kohl’s store on November 12, 2015 in San Rafael, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Kohl’s on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter earnings and sales that exceeded analyst estimates, suggesting stronger growth in 2021.

Under pressure from activist investors, the company said it would reinstate its dividend and buy back shares.

Kohl’s has worked to get more buyers online and add brands that sell home accessories, Fitness equipment and makeup to attract new customers. Attempts have also been made to cut costs and reduce inventory levels, and these efforts have helped improve profits.

“After an exceptional year in which we mastered the pandemic, we ended the year in a very solid financial position and are entering 2021 with strong momentum,” said managing director Michelle Gass in a statement.

Kohl’s shares gained more than 1% in premarket trading.

The company performed in the quarter ended January 30th compared to analysts’ expectations based on a refinitive survey:

  • Earnings per share: $ 2.22 adjusted versus $ 1.01 expected
  • Revenue: $ 5.88 billion versus $ 5.86 billion expected

Kohl’s reported net income of $ 343 million, or $ 2.20 per share, compared to $ 265 million, or $ 1.72 per share, last year. With no one-time expenses, the company made $ 2.22 per share, beating analysts’ forecast of $ 1.01.

Revenue fell from $ 6.54 billion last year to $ 5.88 billion, surpassing analysts’ forecast of $ 5.86 billion.

Online sales increased 22% year over year and accounted for 42% of total sales.

The company expects sales this year to grow a percentage by mid-teens. According to Refinitiv, analysts expected revenue to grow by an average of 17.5% or $ 17.64 billion this year. Adjusted earnings were projected for between $ 2.45 and $ 2.95 per share in 2021, broadly in line with expectations of $ 2.67 per share.

Last week Kohl’s rejected an attempt by a group of investors to take control of its board of directors. The retailer has argued it would disrupt the momentum in transforming its store. The group, which consists of Macellum Advisors, Ancora Holdings, Legion Partners Asset Management and 4010 Capital, has a 9.5% stake.

On Tuesday, Kohl’s announced it would spend between $ 200 million and $ 300 million on share buybacks this year. The company plans to invest at least $ 550 million in investments. Some of that money will go into the debut of hundreds of mini Sephora stores in its stores and the opening of its sixth US e-commerce fulfillment center.

At the end of last month, Kohl’s announced that its board of directors had decided to pay a dividend of 25 cents per share.

Kohl’s shares are up about 45% over the past 12 months at Monday’s close. The retailer has a market cap of $ 8.99 billion, which is larger than Nordstrom and Macy’s.

The full press release from Kohl’s can be found here.