Department store operator Kohl's Corp reported a larger-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, but gave an outlook below Wall Street estimates for the period that includes the key holiday season.

Kohl's results echoed a report from rival Macy's Inc on Wednesday, showing that major department store chains are trying to tone down investors' expectations of a major consumer comeback during the holidays. Kohl's shares were up 11 cents at $54.70 in premarket trading.

As we enter the fourth quarter, we will continue to focus on providing value for our customers as we expect them to continue to be conservative in their spending during this holiday season, Kohl's Chief Executive Kevin Mansell said in a statement.

Kohl's forecast earnings of $1.14 to $1.24 per share for its fourth quarter, which began this month. Analysts on average were expecting $1.25, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net profit rose 20 percent to $193 million, or 63 cents a share, in the third quarter ended October 31 from $160 million, or 52 cents a share, a year earlier.

The analysts' average estimate was 61 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company benefited from inventory controls and sales of brands it offers exclusively.

Sales rose 6.5 percent to $4.1 billion, just above analysts' estimates of $4.0 billion, and sales at stores open at least a year were up 2.4 percent.

On Wednesday, Macy's beat profit expectations for its third quarter, but its shares fell 8.1 percent after its projections for the final quarter of the year disappointed Wall Street.

Department stores have only recently begun to see sales stabilize. Last week, Kohl's reported same-store sales had risen 1.4 percent in October.

Kohl's expects total sales to rise 3 percent to 6 percent in the fourth quarter, with same-store sales ranging from a 1 percent decline to a 2 percent gain.

Kohl's said it operated 1,059 stores at the end of the third quarter, up from 1,004 a year earlier.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by Derek Caney and Lisa Von Ahn)