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Kohl’s Black Friday Kicks Off Nov. 7, and Features an Exclusive Olsen Twins Line

November 6, 2019, 9:43 PM UTC

Kohl’s is trotting out the Black Friday deals earlier this holiday season and betting heavily that new merchandise from the likes of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Jason Wu will help it beat back its rivals.

The retailer on Wednesday said that it would start its Black Friday before the actual occasion, launching deals the Monday before that will last for three days. What’s more, Kohl’s is trying out for the first time a program of daily deals, the first starting on Nov. 7 until right before Thanksgiving.

The chain is looking to shake off a weak start to the year, when comparable sales fell 3.2% in the first half, a letdown after a decent holiday season last year for Kohl’s.

But with rivals like Target and Walmart similarly getting an early jump on deals, Kohl’s isn’t just relying on extra deals. The company is introducing the biggest roster of new brands it has ever launched ahead of a Christmas period. “We have a record level of new merchandise (this year),” Kohl’s Chief Executive Michelle Gass told reporters at a media briefing in New York on Wednesday.

That new merchandise includes the Olsen twins’ Elizabeth and James apparel and accessories line, which hits stores this week and is exclusive to Kohl’s; a limited capsule collection by designer Jason Wu; and a home good line, Scott Living, by television’s Scott brothers, twins Drew and Jonathan Scott.

The pressure to add to its roster of home goods and apparel, particularly where it has exclusives, is all the greater considering Target’s strong roster of new store brands in the last two years. And unlike Target or Walmart, Kohl’s isn’t a grocer garnering weekly shopper visits, so it needs to have products that other chains don’t offer.

The holiday season will also be a big test for a couple of new ideas being refined by Kohl’s. One is “Curated by Kohl’s,” which highlights products from new and emerging brands as discovered by Facebook and set up in 50 stores, and the other is an “Outfit Bar” that helps plan a full look by mixing items from different brands.

Beyond its products, Kohl’s has a new partner to drum up store traffic: this is the first holiday season during which all Kohl’s stores will be able to handle Amazon returns since a national rollout this summer. What has been seen by many analysts as a daring gambit has so far led to a jump in shopper trips, Gass said. More importantly, it is getting younger shoppers to come.

“We’re excited to see the traffic that we’re getting – we are seeing new customers,” Gass said. And she will need them to get sales back to growth.

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