Kohl’s Is Officially In Business With Amazon

18. October 2017.

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Beginning Wednesday (Oct. 25), 10 Kohl’s locations in Los Angeles and Chicago will be selling Amazon smart home devices and accepting Amazon returns in stores, CNBC recently reported. The companies hope the relationship will draw more consumers to retail locations and facilitate the return of unwanted items by Amazon shoppers.

“I really do think it’s an example of two companies that can leverage each other’s strengths,” said Michelle Gass, chief merchandising and customer officer at Kohl’s.

Gass has been instrumental in developing Kohl’s relationship with Amazon and will be assuming the retailer’s chief executive position in May.

“We’re leaning into our store base, which is a competitive advantage for us,” she added.

Amazon products will be sold through kiosks operated entirely by the online retailer, Gass said. Kohl’s employees will be performing Amazon’s online returns. Kohl’s has plans to have 70 additional stores to participate in the partnership, according to CNBC, but the company hasn’t confirmed whether the expansion will happen in time for the holiday season.

Kohl’s shares are down 12 percent since the beginning of the year, and the department chain has announced it will reduce the size of its retail locations over time. But, the company isn’t struggling as much as some of its big-box competitors. Macy’s shares fell by 44 percent during the same period.

“[Kohl’s] is one of the few department chains not closing stores, they’re operationally focused, and they have a broad swath of stores with potentially a little extra space now,” said Tiffany Hogan, an apparel analyst at Kantar Retail.

Should the department store hold onto some of its larger stores, the additional floor space could be used to test brick-and-mortar sale of Amazon’s next private fashion line, Hogan added.

“Kohl’s struggles, like all department stores, but I would certainly say they’ve moved forward from where they were a year ago,” said GlobalData Retail managing director Neil Saunders. “They’re trying to drive customer traffic to stores, and the Amazon deal is the latest example of that.”

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