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Kohl’s rolls out comps, store count, strike points

Menomonee Falls, Wis. – Kohl’s is setting a pace well above most other retail competitors, and is doing it in style, building out exclusive brands, trading up merchandise, and unveiling scores of attractive new stores.

Kohl's said sales for the 5-week period ended Sept. 30, 2006 rose 26.1% over the 5-week period ended Oct. 1, 2005, while comp store sales for the period were up 16.3%. Year-to-date the retailer said total sales are up 16.2%, with a comp gain of 7.3%.

Kohl's chairman and ceo Larry Montgomery said, “We continue to see strong sales performance across all lines of business.” He added, “We are experiencing healthy increases in both transactions per store and average transaction value.”

Kevin Mansell, president, pointed out how marketing is working well new merchandising initiatives in brand exclusives and private labels, such as a recent “very successful” direct mail piece promoting its younger, hipper Apt. 9 bedding ensembles. He said kohls.com is doubling its number of skus to 100,000 and its distribution center to nearly 1 million square feet. Kohls.com also provides key “event support” in coordination with TV and other ads, to drive business into brick-and-mortar stores, Mansell said.

Tom Kingsbury, senior executive vp, described a range of “strikepoints,” meaning themed power presentations of better merchandise, often designed with major brands to lend a “specialty store look” to key areas of the stores. He pointed out one that gives a “master bedroom look to better showcase our updated and contemporary look from Candies and Apt. 9,” which he said is now set in more than 500 stores.

Tomorrow – Thursday, Oct. 5 – Kohl’s will open 65 stores in 30 states, its largest ever single-day opening schedule. The chain will operated 817 stores by year end.

Some of the features in the new stores being opened are decidedly upscale: updated fitting rooms are augmented by lounges, outer facades are airy with more glass to show off key products, and wood finishes are streaming through stores, from the finish on checkout areas to wall-size “home hutches” to turn dinnerware displays into romantic focal points.

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