Year-to-date transactions in our stores were negatively impacted by unfavorable weather trends which reduced customer visits.Certification of the Chief Financial Officer pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Section 1350, as adopted pursuant to Section 906 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
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Those statements relate to developments, results, conditions or other events we expect or anticipate will occur in the future.In the first quarter, we launched our first Jumping Beans collection featuring Disney characters.One of the major reasons why consumers love to shop at KOHLS is KOHLS coupon codes.Short-term trade credit, in the form of extended payment terms for inventory pur s, often represents a significant source of financing for merchandise inventories.We continue to see sales increases of approximately 2 percent in higher sales volume stores with the new beauty department versus a control group of stores without r ted beauty departments.In order to increase sales, we believe that we need to increase transactions per store, which is our primary sales driver.The Midwest and Northeast regions outperformed the store average for the quarter.Year to date, gross margin as a percentage of sales was consistent with 2013.
The increase in year-to-date interest expense is primarily due to higher outstanding long-term debt following the September 2013 debt issuance.
Kohl's Printable Coupon 2014An investment in our common stock or other securities carries certain risks.Get an Extra 30% Off Entire Pur + Earn Kohls Cash.The South Central region reported the largest sales decrease in the first nine months of 2014.Our new beauty offerings are an example of the new product that customers can find in many of our stores and on-line.
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Kohl's Coupons Printable 2015To build personalized connections during the shopping experience, we are focused on localizing and tailoring what we sell and how we communicate our product to ensure that our product and offers are personally relevant to each and every customer.
We expect to have the new beauty department in approximately 900 stores by the end of fiscal 2015.E-Commerce includes sales which originated on-line and are shipped from our E-Commerce fulfillment centers, shipped from our stores, picked up in our stores, or shipped directly from third-party vendors to our customers.In 2014, we are focused on improving the tablet and smartphone shopping experience.Revenues and expenses associated with the opening of new stores may also affect our quarterly results.
Our stores generally carry a consistent merchandise assortment with some differences attributable to regional preferences.The following table reconciles net cash provided by operating activities (a GAAP measure) to free cash flow (a non-GAAP measure).Year to date, the West region reported the lowest decrease in comparable sales.Key financial s that provide certain measures of our liquidity are as follows.We have not created, and are not party to, any special-purpose or off-balance sheet entities for the purpose of raising capital, incurring debt or operating our business.
Kohl’s Cyber Sale + 15% Off + Earn Kohl’s Cash! #FINDYOURYESWe are also making significant investments to create an easy experience for our customers wherever or however they choose to engage with us.We r ted beauty departments in 178 stores during the third quarter of fiscal 2014 bringing the total number of stores with the new beauty department to 512 as of November 1, 2014.
Current Kohl's 30% Off CouponCorporate costs also increased for the quarter and year to date, as we continue to invest in technology.Due to the seasonality of our business, results for any quarter are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved for a full fiscal year.
The increase in E-Commerce sales in the quarter was partially driven by the anniversary of the website replatform, as we continue to return to historical growth trends more similar to those experienced before the replatform.We expect to offer this shopping option in all of our stores by the second quarter of 2015.We feature (57) Kohls coupons, promo codes and deals for June 2016.Free cash flow should be evaluated in addition to, and not considered a substitute for, other financial measures such as net income and cash flow provided by ope ns.
We continue to offer new products to our customers as we believe this creates excitement for our customers and increases customer traffic to our stores and website.Corporate costs increased for the quarter and year to date due to a change in our incentive compensation estimated payout in the third quarter of 2013, which resulted in an incentive compensation reversal for the quarter.The increase was primarily due to timing of overseas inventory shipment receipts and timing of payments to some of our vendors.In June 2014, we launched the Fitbit brand as part of extending our active and wellness business.