Kohl’s Holiday Sales Miss Expectations, But Store Traffic Rises

Retailer Plans 'Reinvention' Of A Key Department In 2020

Kohl's store
Charles Krupa/AP Photo

Kohl’s plans to make changes this year, following flat holiday sales figures last year.

The Menomonee Falls-based retailer said in an earnings call Tuesday that revenue was down for the fiscal year, but overall store traffic and new customers grew.

CEO Michelle Gass said Kohl’s saw increases in store traffic and new customers, in part due to its program for Kohl’s stores to accept returns for Amazon’s online orders.

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“The fact that we are driving traffic and growing our customer base shows that Kohl’s positioning and relevance in the market continues to be very strong. It also demonstrates the strength of our team’s ability to constantly evolve the model to adapt to today’s consumer,” she said.

Online shopping also rose to the point that the company said it had higher-than-expected shipping costs.

Gass said Kohl’s plans a “reinvention” of its women’s line, which underperformed throughout last year.

The retailer will exit eight women’s brands it called “downtrending,” while adding new ones as replacements.

“It’s about newness, innovation and relevancy,” she said. “As we continue to bring fresh things and interesting things for our customers to buy that also will drive traffic, and we’ve seen that play out.”

Gass said activewear and beauty products were two other areas Kohl’s expected to grow in the new year.