Leaving nothing to chance in the holiday shopping battles, Kohl’s (KSS) said on Tuesday it would stay open non-stop in the final run-up to Christmas Eve.
The department store chain said doors at most stores would stay open around the clock from 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 20 until December 24 at 6 p.m. That comes to 107 hours, a far cry from the 170-hour marathon last year and more in line with its 2014 plan when Kohl’s was open for 100 hours.
The move is clearly aimed at squeezing every sale it can, in the face of what many retail CEO’s are calling the most “promotional” season since the recession, and fending off rivals like J.C. Penney (JCP) and Macy’s. (M)
Yet for all the excess of being open last year for a week of non-stop shopping, it didn’t turn the season into a blockbuster and even dented profits: comparable sales rose a mere 0.4% and margins fell. Kohl’s itself pronounced those results “disappointing.” And in the first half of 2016, they were down 2.8%. Still, Kohl’s is looking to build on what was a promising Black Friday/Thanksgiving weekend with record online sales, and benefit from the arrival of a cold snap that should spur clothing sales, a segment that generates 60% of its revenues.
Kohl’s has made big strides this holiday season in terms of a smoother process for store pickups of online orders and the launch of Kohl’s Pay, among other initiatives. The retailer was aggressive in its promotions, including redoubling its marketing messaging to remind customers of the myriad ways to combine promotions to get low prices. Kohl’s Yes2You loyalty program has 30 million active members and is central to that strategy. Kohl’s also started selling the Apple Watch this quarter.
At the same time, Amazon.com is by all accounts having another banner holiday season, winning 31% of all U.S. e-commerce sales over the Cyber Monday period. And Target (TGT) and Walmart (WMT) have been aggressive on price, as have Penney and Macy’s. (M)
Once again the spoils of war will go to consumers.