Home upgrade pays dividends for Kohl’s

Menomonee Falls, Wis. – The home division, with 8% comp sales compared to a 5.5% comp gain storewide, was the brightest star among Kohl’s Corp.’s six lines of business during the second quarter, the retailer reported late yesterday on a conference call.

"Home continues to see strength in bedding, bath and housewares,"

noted Kevin Mansell, president, Kohl’s Department Stores. He attributed the growth to "a tremendous amount of changes in the merchandise content" by the merchant team — and he said the plan is to continue upgrading price points into a "better-best" bracket and improving selection on contemporary styling.

Also helping home’s performance has been the ongoing rollout of the department’s re-flow; more than 400 of the chain’s 749 doors now have the re-flow, helping the retailer satisfy a new cohort of shoppers.

"The merchandising of the new product is being really accepted by the new customer," Mansell said. "Our price points are actually up, the customer is excited about the new product, and she is seeing new presentations that show a little more expensive merchandise — not a whole new tier, but higher than we’ve been. So we’re thrilled with an 8.0% comp."

Overall for the quarter, Kohl’s reported a net sales increase of 14.0% to $3.3 billion compared to $2.9 billion for the same period a year ago. Net income increased 24.1% to $232.4 million, up from $187.2 million a year ago.

On Oct. 4, the company will host an investor conference and store tour in Tampa, where it is opening one of its new prototypes. The company offered few details about the new format; chairman and ceo Larry Montgomery would only say, "We’re looking to make it a more exciting shopping experience, an easier shopping experience for the customer, one that is friendlier and more convenient, and showcases the updated contemporary and better-best products we’re continuing to add to our assortments."

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