Kohl’s Looks To Get Back On Track

Apr 08, 2004

By George Anderson

Things change quickly in retail.

Kohl’s, once the darling of Wall Street as it sped past its department store
competition, has hit a bump in the road.

According to a report in USA Today by Lorrie Grant, “Somewhere along
the way, Kohl’s dropped its guard, maybe got a little complacent, and its competitive
edge and efficiency sagged. Last year, the women’s apparel selection was weak,
overstocked stores took on a jumbled appearance and ballooning inventory led
to profit-killing price cutting. Sales were in decline half of the year, falling
as much as 12% in October.”

Kurt Barnard, president and chief economist at Retail Forecasting said, “Kohl’s
single-handedly turned the department store industry on its ears, a condition
that lasted until rivals woke up and said, ‘Hey, I can do it, too.’ And they
did it.”

Now, the retailer is trying to get itself back on track as department stores
such as J.C. Penney and discounters such as Target compete for the same consumers.

Moderator’s Comment: What will it take for Kohl’s to
regain its sales momentum?

The USA Today article offered these recommendations:

  1. Run tax refund events to get consumers to spend their
    money at Kohl’s.

  2. Improve merchandise selection, especially in women’s

  3. Gain greater inventory control. Kohl’s was overstocked
    in the fourth quarter when others kept their inventories lean.

  4. Hope for an improvement in consumer sentiment that
    puts people in the mood to shop. George
    Anderson – Moderator

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