Sweeping Changes to Kohl’s Department Stores

Joel Eisenberg

Diverse clothing lines and an expansion of its Sephora beauty partnership are hoped to position the financially-challenged retailer as a more favorable competitor to higher revenue-generating chains.


Author’s Note

This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: Wikipedia.org, ScrapeHero.com, TheStreet.com, Reuters.com, and Google.com.


Wikipedia features a comprehensive overview of the Kohl’s department store chain: The company was founded by Polish immigrant Maxwell Kohl, who opened a corner grocery store in Milwaukee Wisconsin in 1927. It went on to become a successful chain in the local area, and in 1962 the company branched out by opening its first department store. British American Tobacco Company took a controlling interest in the company in 1972 while still managed by the Kohl Family, and in 1979, the corporation was sold to BATUS Inc. A group of investors purchased the company in 1986 from British American Tobacco and took it public in 1992.

In terms of location count, Kohl’s is among the biggest department stores in the country. According to ScrapeHero.com: There are 1,156 Kohls locations in the United States as of September 11, 2022. The state with the most number of Kohls locations in the US is California, with 117 locations, which is 10% of all Kohls locations in America.

The company has been successful for decades, but in terms of revenue has consistently lagged behind competitors such as Target. As such, changes are regularly implemented to more effectively compete, and recent tweaks to the company’s model are perhaps most representative of that intent.

Let us explore further.

Kohl’s, 2022

For several months, Kohl’s expected a buyout from Franchise Group, which I covered in my NewsBreak article, “Plans For Kohl’s Closings in 2022 Update: Sales Negotiations Terminated.”

My article included this excerpt from Reuters.com: U.S. department store chain Kohl's Corp (KSS.N) on Friday called off its sale to Franchise Group (FRG.O) after months of negotiations, citing sinking markets and difficult financing conditions. Kohl's shares, already down 28% since January, tumbled nearly 15% in pre-market trading on news of the collapsed talks and the retailer's shrinking sales. "Given the environment and market volatility, the board determined that it simply was not prudent to continue pursuing a deal," Peter Boneparth, Kohl's board chairman, said in a statement.

According to a September 4th piece from TheStreet.com, “Kohl's Launching New Retail Focus That Competes With Target,” the latest changes were implemented following the discontinuance of the expected buyout by Franchise Group: Shortly after ending the Franchise Group deal, Kohl's launched Discover @ Kohl’s, specifically for driving gender neutral clothing for youth and collections to portray inclusivity and representation of all beings. This line will also change out each season to make room for new seasons, and Kohl's will offer new diverse brands including women-owned brands.

This article went on to discuss a short-term line with Levi’s for inclusive clothing, as well as an expanded company program: Sephora, a Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton brand brought its beauty line to Kohl's retail floor, which was made possible through the ending of Sephora’s partnership with JCPenney. The Kohl's/Sephora partnership started a year ago and in August the two announced that the partnership would expand to all of the Kohl’s store fronts.

Other changes are largely expected by analysts, as a targeted Google search will verify.


For now, the company appears to have doubled-down on strategic decisions following the failure of the Franchise Group deal.

In the event of further updates, I will report them here on NewsBreak.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

Northridge, CA

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