Kohl’s is on a roll coming off the holidays
Department store operators went into the 2017 Christmas selling season hoping to put their struggles behind them. Macy’s showed some improvement with a 1.1 percent gain in same-store sales during the last two months of the year. J.C. Penney did even better with its comp sales up 3.4 percent. But it was Kohl’s with a 6.9 percent year-over-year gain for the holidays that has many industry watchers taking notice.
“All lines of business and all regions reported positive comp sales,” said Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s CEO in a statement. “As expected, growth in digital demand accelerated significantly in the holiday period from the year-to-date trend. In addition, we experienced positive sales in our stores driven by stronger traffic.”
Kohl’s has focused on its omnichannel efforts to set it apart from its retail rivals. At Shoptalk last March, Mr. Mansell said the company was focused on tech investments that gave customers the options to shop how, when and where they liked. He pointed to improvements the company has made to its mobile app as a critical piece in Kohl’s strategy.
“Mobile,” he said, “is the driver of behavior when customers come into our stores.”
More recently, Kohl’s made headlines when it first announced the test of Amazon.com smart home shops in 10 of its stores in Chicago and Los Angeles followed by a separate announcement that it was accepting returns for items purchased from the e-tailer in 82 of its locations in the same markets. The moves have led to speculation that Amazon may have its sights set on acquiring Kohl’s following its acquisition of Whole Foods last year.
Kohl’s also made news when it reported that Mr. Mansell will step down next May as CEO after a decade on the job. He is being replaced by Michelle Gass, who joined the company as its chief customer officer with responsibilities over marketing and e-commerce in 2013.
Ms. Gass, who previously spent 17 years at Starbucks before joining Kohl’s, added the title of Kohl’s chief merchandising officer in 2015, assuming leadership of the company’s merchandising, planning and product development divisions.
- Kohl’s Corporation Reports November/December Sales and Increases 2017 Diluted Earnings Per Share Guidance – Kohl’s Corporation
- Will smaller stores and omnichannel pay off for Kohl’s? – RetailWire
- Kohl’s to accept product returns for Amazon – RetailWire
- Kohl’s sets CEO succession plan – RetailWire
- J.C. Penney is feeling merry about its Christmas performance – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why do you think Kohl’s is performing better than its department store rivals? Do you expect the chain to continue posting strong numbers in 2018?