Kohl's Corporation ( ) is an
American department store chain headquartered in
Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee.
The company currently operates 1,059 stores
in 49 states. Kohl's mission, as stated in store and online, is to
be the leading value-oriented, family-focused, specialty department
store. Based on 2008 revenue, Kohl's was the
24th-largest retailer in the United States.
The company entered the S&P 500
in 1998 and is also listed in the Fortune
(#152 in 2007).
who had previously operated traditional grocery stores, built his
first Kohl's supermarket in 1946, the
first in what would become a southeastern Wisconsin chain known as Kohl's Food Stores.
he started his first department store, Kohl's Department Store, in
He positioned Kohl's between the higher-end
department stores and the discounters, selling everything from
candy to engine oil to sporting equipment.
In 1972 the British-American
's (parent of U.S. subsidiary Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co.
U.S. retail division, BATUS Inc.
a controlling interest in Kohl's Corp., which at the time operated
50 grocery stores, six department stores, three drug stores and
three liquor stores. The Kohl family, led by Allen and Herb Kohl
, continued to manage the
company. The family left the management in 1979, and Herb Kohl
became a United States Senator and owner of the Milwaukee Bucks
. The firm then expanded
Kohl's presence from 10 to 39 stores in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.
grocery stores were sold to A&P
operating under the name Kohl's II, but the last of them were
closed in 2003.
A group of investors, including the senior management, purchased
the company in 1986, and the company added 27 more stores in the
next two years. In 1988, the chain acquired 26 locations from
Chicago-based MainStreet, gaining several
stores in Chicago's suburbs, Minneapolis, Minnesota and parts of Michigan, the first
of which opened its doors on January 15, 1989 in Roseville,
In 1992, the company went public and a period of
expansion began. Kohl's entered mid-Atlantic markets in 1997
(opening in many former locations of Clover, an offshoot of the Strawbridge's corporation brand department
stores in the Philadelphia region); Texas, Missouri and the Northeast in 1999 (the latter
market resulting from its purchase of many former Caldor locations); Georgia and the Southeast in 2001; New England in 2002; California and the Southwest in 2003; and the
Northwest in 2006. In April 2005, the company opened stores in
Florida and other
Kohl's design office opened in January 2007, located in the heart
of New York's garment district. The facility, located at 1359
Broadway, is the company's first product-design facility in the
nation's fashion capital.
Existing stores are undergoing renovations to make them more modern
and more like up-scale department stores. These re-modeled stores
must be of a certain age and profit group in order to qualify for
On October 13, 2009, Kohl's announced it was closing its oldest
distribution center, located in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, in
order to more efficiently service its expanding number of stores.
inventory from the Menomonee Falls distribution center will be
moved to a newer distribution center in Ottawa, Illinois.
The exterior of a typical Kohl's department store in Northeast
Although some locations are in enclosed shopping malls
, the majority of stores are
Kohl’s operates differently from traditional department stores. The
most noticeable distinction is that Kohl's stores have centralized
checkout aisles, where a single line is used for check-outs. This
has led many observers to consider Kohl's a hybrid of a department
store and a mass merchandiser.
Kohl's also uses a "racetrack" aisle that circles the entire store,
a technique borrowed from discount stores but rarely used in
Kohl's stores feature nationally recognized brand-name merchandise,
exclusive labels, and private-branded goods, virtually the same
merchandise mix as traditional department stores. The stores sell a
variety of goods, such as apparel
, and accessories for women, children and men,
and home products such as small electronics
, kitchen electrics, electric
& floor care, bedding
, and luggage
. Kohl's exclusive lines include Candie's
, Chaps by Ralph
for Men, Women and Children, Simply
Vera Vera Wang
, Elle Contemporary Collection, Casa Cristina by
award-winning TV personality Cristina
, Tony Hawk
Fuentes, Axcess, Bobby Flay
, Abbey Dawn
that includes junior's apparel and accessories, LC by
MTV reality star Lauren Conrad
-branded housewares and
cookware and Dana Buchman
private brands include Apt. 9, Sonoma, Croft & Barrow, Jumping
Beans, Urban Pipeline
, Moments, So...
and Tek Gear. Some of Kohl's national brands include
Nike, Haggar, Dockers,
Gloria Vanderbilt, Columbia
Sportswear, OshKosh B'Gosh,
Carter's, Reebok, Adidas, Champion, Jockey, Asics,
Goldtoe, Lee, l.e.i. and Levi's.
One hallmark of Kohl's marketing campaign is to end an
advertisement with a punchline that violates grammar rules or makes
up new words. Examples include: "Its delicious, Its delightful, Its
delovely," and "The more you know, the more you Kohl's." Delovely
in this instance is most likely not a reference to the movie of the
same title, and the use of the name Kohl's as a verb.
Kohl's has been criticized for violating fair labor standards. For
example, in November 2010 the company was added to the
International Labor Rights Forum's Sweatshop Hall of Shame.
ILRF 2010 Sweatshop Hall of Shame.
The company has had a World Wide Web
presence since 1998 and has offered online shopping since 2000. The
attracted at least 58 million visitors
annually by 2008 according to a
- Top 100 Retailers: The Nation's Retail Power Players
(PDF), Stores, July 2009.
- Daykin, Tom. "1st Kohl's supermarket to be next Lena's."
Milwaukee Sentinel June 14, 2002
- Milwaukee Sentinel 10-28-1972, p. 6,