The holiday season is one of retail’s biggest times of year, and come January, everyone wants to see the numbers. Lacking a year-over-year increase in holiday sales can be significantly detrimental for retailers. The industry is quick to condemn poor performance – or sing the praises of those who show growth and ingenuity.
This year, Kohl’s reported amazing holiday sales – a surprise given the overall dismal outlook on the lasting power of traditional department stores and other large brick and mortar retailers. Where other companies just squeezed by, Kohl’s saw a 6.9 percent increase in November and December sales over last year.
So, how did they do it?
As widely reported, Kohl’s focused on innovative moves that spurred its exceptional performance. For example, the company signed on to handle returns for Amazon in a few dozen stores. Instead of shuttering locations this past year, Kohl’s decided to shrink hundreds of them, avoiding a fleet reduction. The company also brought in higher demand brands like Under Armour to drive consumer interest and traffic, and it is continuing a major overhaul of its own store and private-label brands to appeal to changing consumer interest – no easy feat, but one that is clearly paying off.
Interestingly – or astonishingly – Kohl’s also increased in-store traffic this holiday season. Benefitting from its generally off-mall locations (as malls continue to lose foot traffic) as well as investing in better inventory management and customer incentives to visit physical locations, seems to have Kohl’s reaping the rewards of fresh thinking and bucking the narrative around a retail apocalypse.
Kohl’s is prime example of prioritizing innovation in an industry that struggles to keep pace with customers in the New Retail Economy. By increasing collaboration across its entire infrastructure and implementing technology to enhance both product offerings and customer experience, Kohl’s is thriving, and will certainly be a retailer to watch as the industry continues to evolve.
Read our case study to learn more about how leading department stores are innovating and growing in today’s changing retail environment.