By Neil Saunders
Omnichannel services, like collect in store, were highly valued by customers seeking convenience over the holiday period. Radical steps, such as allowing Amazon returns in some stores and the introduction of Amazon shop-in-shops also paid dividends.
After good updates from both Macy’s and JCPenney, Kohl’s positive sales growth comes as no surprise. However, the extent of the increase is impressive and suggests that Kohl’s grew its market share over the holiday season. In our view, the 6.9% uplift in comparables puts Kohl’s firmly in the winner’s enclosure.
Admittedly, growth comes off the back of a weak prior year, when comparables declined by 2.1%. Despite this, we believe that Kohl’s performance demonstrates that many of the initiatives undertaken over the past year are now paying off.
Among these are the improvements in the in-store offer, with the thinning out of the range and the incorporation of more branded products both helping to boost footfall and conversion rates over the holidays. Some of the more radical steps, such as allowing Amazon returns in some stores and the introduction of Amazon shop-in-shops also paid dividends.
Away from stores, digital was the star of the show and was the underpinning of Kohl’s better numbers. Again, the presence of branded products helped to drive traffic to the website. Omnichannel services, like collect in store, were also highly valued by customers seeking convenience over the holiday period.
Kohl’s marketing also deserves mention for the role it played over the holidays. Focusing on both the benefits for gift receivers and gift buyers (who could get Kohl’s Cash) went down well and won over customers.
Like other department store groups, Kohl’s has further work to do in the year ahead. However, these numbers signal it is firmly on the right track.
Neil Saunders is managing director of GlobalData Retail.