A Kohl's store in Concord, Calif.
Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Phil Wahba
June 23, 2015

Walk into any Kohl’s these days, and evidence of the retailer’s comeback strategy is visible everywhere. Case in point: On a recent Friday at the Kohl’s in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, near Lake Michigan, a huge display just inside the entrance reminded customers they could pick up online orders in stores—a now commonplace service in retail that Kohl’s only relatively recently got around to offering.

Next to it was a sign touting the company’s new loyalty program, which allows Kohl’s to reach more shoppers via targeted promotions rather than glorified spam. And nearby was a section devoted to FitBit wearable health trackers, part of the company’s big bet on fitness and wellness products.

None of this may seem particularly revolutionary in today’s retail environment. (It’s not as if Kohl’s is preparing to launch drone delivery of mom jeans.) But for the previously unadventurous Midwestern department store chain, each of the new initiatives represents a calculated step in its quest to recapture its former magic.

“The old, core pillars of the company—brands, value and convenience—they just need to be reinvented for today’s consumers,” CEO Kevin Mansell, a 32-year company veteran, told Fortune in a recent interview in his office at Kohl’s headquarters in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

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