Kohl's To Open 100 Smaller Format Stores

The retailer's newest initiatives are focused on enhancing the in-store shopping experience.
Greg Sleter
Associate Publisher/Executive Editor
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Pointing to stores as the foundation of its omnichannel platform, Kohl’s is moving forward on a three-year plan that will see increased investments in its stores with the goal of improving the shopping experience.

Officials with the retailer said the company is modernizing stores to provide customers with features that offer convenient services, opportunities for discovery and an overall inviting experience. This includes store pick up, drive-up, self-pick up and Amazon returns. 

Additionally, Kohl’s over the next four years will open about 100 smaller format stores in markets where the retailer currently does not have a physical presence. The expansion of the small format stores follows a successful pilot of more than 20 smaller stores.The average Kohl’s store of around 80,000 square feet is too large for many small markets. By introducing these smaller format stores, most at approximately 35,000 square feet, Kohl’s gains the flexibility to enter new neighborhoods while also providing a hyper-localized experience to cater to the community’s needs, company officials said.

“Kohl’s began with roots as a brick-and-mortar company, and these 60 years of experience have set the company up to become a leading omnichannel retailer,” said Mark Griepentrog, Kohl’s chief property officer. “Our strong and productive off-mall store base can continuously evolve with our customer’s expectations and demand, and we see substantial opportunities to leverage our real estate in producing long-term growth.”

In June, Kohl’s will open a new store in Bonney Lake, WA and in the fall, four additional new small format stores will open in San Angelo, Texas., Morgantown, W.Va., Tacoma, Wash., and Lenox, Mass.

Store officials said that 99% of Kohl’s 1,165 locations were “four-wall cash flow positive” and approximately 95% generated more than $1 million in four-wall cash flow. The health and profitability of stores is in part due to their strategic locations, creating convenience for the 80% of Americans that live within 15 miles of a Kohl’s store, company officials added. 

In addition to store growth, Kohl’s will also be introducing what it called “dedicated zones” that  are designed to allow shoppers to discover new products and inspire curations of cross-category items and brands. These include diverse- and female-owned companies to meet the needs of customers seeking newness and inspiration.

Kohl’s is also making investments in technology across its physical footprint. The company is rolling out self-serve buy online, pick up in store and by the end of the year, it will be available in all stores. Kohl’s is also continuing to test self-serve returns, currently in more than 100 stores, with more planned throughout the next 18 months