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Kohls Corp  (KSS)
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    Sector  Retail    Industry Department & Discount Retail


Kohls Corp

Business Description

The Company operates family-oriented, specialty department stores that feature quality, national brand merchandise priced to provide value to customers. The Company’s stores sell moderately priced apparel, shoes, accessories and home products targeted to middle-income customers shopping for their families and homes. Kohl’s offers a convenient shopping experience through easily accessible locations, well laid out stores, central checkout and good in-stock position which allows the customer to get in and out quickly. Kohl’s stores have fewer departments than traditional, full-line department stores but offer customers dominant assortments of merchandise displayed in complete selections of styles, colors and sizes. Central to the Company’s pricing strategy and overall profitability is a culture focused on maintaining a low cost structure. Critical elements of this low cost structure are the Company’s unique store format, lean staffing levels, sophisticated management information systems and operating efficiencies resulting from centralized buying, advertising and distribution.

In support of its geographic expansion, the Company has focused on providing the solid infrastructure needed to ensure consistent execution. Kohl’s proactively invests in distribution capacity and regional management to facilitate the growth in new and existing markets. The Company’s central merchandising organization and market solution teams tailor merchandise assortments to reflect regional climates and preferences. Management information systems support the Company’s low cost culture by enhancing productivity and providing the information needed to make key merchandising decisions.

The Kohl’s concept has proven to be transferable to markets across the country. The Company’s approach is to enter new markets with critical mass to establish a presence and to leverage marketing, regional management and distribution costs. New market entries are supported by extensive advertising and promotions designed to introduce new customers to the Kohl’s concept of brands, value and convenience. Additionally, the Company has been successful in acquiring, refurbishing and operating locations previously operated by other retailers.


Kohl’s stores feature moderately priced, national brand merchandise, which provide value to customers. Kohl’s merchandise is targeted to appeal to middle-income customers shopping for their families and homes. The Company’s stores generally carry a consistent merchandise assortment with some differences attributable to regional preferences. The Company’s stores emphasize apparel and shoes for women, men, and children, soft home products, such as towels, sheets and pillows and housewares.


Convenience is another important cornerstone of Kohl’s business model. At Kohl’s, convenience begins before the customer enters the store, with a neighborhood location close to home. Other aspects of convenience include easily accessible entry, knowledgeable and friendly associates, wide aisles, a functional store layout, shopping carts/strollers and fast, centralized checkouts. The physical store layout coupled with the Company’s focus on strong in-stock position on color and size are aimed at providing a convenient shopping experience for an increasingly time starved customer. In addition, Kohl’s offers on-line shopping on the Company’s web-site. Designed as an added service for customers who prefer to shop from their homes, the web-site offers key items, best selling family apparel and home merchandise. The site is designed to provide an easy-to-navigate, on-line shopping environment that complements the Company’s in-store focus on convenience.


The Company receives substantially all of its merchandise at seven distribution centers, with the balance delivered directly to the stores by vendors or their distributors. The distribution centers ship merchandise to each store by contract carrier several times a week.


The retail industry is highly competitive. Management considers quality, value, merchandise mix, service and convenience to be the most significant competitive factors in the industry. The Company’s primary competitors are traditional department stores, upscale mass merchandisers and specialty stores. The Company’s specific competitors vary from market to market.


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