Penney and Kohl’s Compete
By George Anderson
J.C. Penney Co. is aggressively looking to expand its free-standing stores in an effort to take back business lost to Kohl’s in past years, reports The Business Journal of Milwaukee.
According to the piece, Penney sees its off-mall strategy as a means to bring its stores closer to consumers.
The same strategy has been credited as one of the prime reasons that Kohl’s rose to retailing prominence over the past 15 years.
Sid Doolittle, a partner at McMillan/Doolittle, says the increased competition cannot be seen as “good news for Kohl’s.”
According to Mr. Doolittle, Kohl’s brought new thinking to the department store business with its off-mall stores, central checkouts and other innovations but that it has failed to find new ways to differentiate itself in recent years.
Kohl’s has not entirely stood still. It has added Estee Lauder cosmetics sections to its stores and rolled out the Candie’s clothing and home fashion and accessories line. The company web site has young celebrities Samaire Armonstrong, Ciara, Hillary Duff and Michelle Trachtenberg modeling clothes on its Candie’s junior’s page.
Mr. Doolittle, however, feels Kohl’s needs to do more to answer the competitive response from Penney’s and others, such as Target and Sears, looking to attract the same consumers.
According to The Business Journal of Milwaukee, Mr. Doolittle believes “Kohl’s needs to sharpen its fashion component and make sure its customer service is top-notch.” It also needs to partner with fashion designers ala Target with Isaac Mizrahi and develop a strong private label program to rival Penney lines such as a.n.a.
Moderator’s Comment: What do you see Penney and Kohl’s having to do to better compete with each one another? –
George Anderson – Moderator