The Latest on Kohl's Greatness Agenda

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The Latest on Kohl's Greatness Agenda

By Jamie Grill-Goodman - 12/14/2015
Kohl's Corp. announced its Greatness Agenda last year, a plan which is supported by the five pillars it is built upon: amazing product, incredible savings, easy experience, personalized connections and winning teams.

In its third quarter 2015 comp sales for Kohl's increased 1%. This was the company's fourth consecutive quarter of comp sale increases.

"More importantly, we have effectively reversed the downward sales trends that we were experiencing before we introduced the Greatness Agenda last fall," noted Wesley S. McDonald, CFO, senior executive VP & head-investor relations.

"It's been one year since we introduced our multiyear strategic framework which we call the Greatness Agenda, and against the generally soft macro demand backdrop in the categories we compete in, the initiatives within that plan have turned our sales results from negative to positive," said Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, CEO and president. 

Kohl’s recently noted the following updates to each of its five strategic pillars:

Amazing Products:  As part of the evolution of the plan, the company is accelerating its effort on localization by declaring the intent to have unique store assortments in all of our stores by the end of 2016.

"In addition, we've determined that to succeed long-term, we need to do more to become a destination for her and as a result have launched an intensification around our biggest single business, women's apparel," said Mansell. Women's already produced a better in-store performance in the third quarter.

Easy Experience: Kohl's is changing its objective here from being world-class in mobile to being world-class in digital, acknowledging the importance of giving a complete great digital experience both out of store and in-store.

The company intends to launch several new distribution channels, including the launch of a new 35,000 square-foot prototype to provide access to a great number of smaller markets, as well as create fill-in opportunities in urban areas that don't have the economics or the availability of real estate to support a larger store.

The company also intends to launch an outlet model with the first brand being 10 to 15 stores for Fila. Finally, Kohl's plans to test two more pilots of its Off-Aisle concept.

Personalized Connections:  Kohl's new mobile app has now reached 9 million downloads, the company reports. As part of the evolution of its plan, Kohl's will be activating beginning in the fourth quarter a series of initiatives to drive traffic with its 34 million Yes2You members to reward their engagement. The company also says it will be concentrating its efforts to specifically drive new customer engagement and targeting two growing segments of the population, Millennials and Hispanics.

Incredible Savings: The company has analyzed multiple years of Kohl's data and along with qualitative research, Kohl's is now focused on using data-driven insights to make its value much more apparent to customers. The company will focus intensely on the categories and items that create the greatest impact on value perception.

Winning Teams:  Associate response to the Greatness Agenda since the launch has been amazing. In the very short time since the launch, associate engagement scores have increased dramatically.

"Just as importantly," said Mansell, "we're continuing our journey to attract and develop new leaders in key areas of competency that didn't exist at Kohl's before; 25% of our corporate associates are in roles that didn't exist three years ago."

As Kohl's changes its objective to being world-class in digital, the company is keenly aware that it's increasingly important that the in-store experience matches up to the way consumers shop online. Introducing digital to the physical retail environment is a way to leverage the power of digital for a more meaningful customer experience.

To find out more, join the "Creating Meaningful Customer Experiences: The Store as the Digital Magnet" session at NRF's Big Show 2016. Ratnakar Lavu, EVP, Digital Technology, Kohl's Department Stores, and Savio Thattil, CIO, Sephora, will explore in more detail how leading retailers are turning their physical stores into a digital magnet.


Click here for RIS News' annual look at the must-see sessions at retail's biggest event of the year.