Kohl's is an American department store retail chain and, as of 2012, the country's largest, with 1,162 locations, operating stores in every U.S. state except Hawaii. Headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Winconsin, the company was founded in 1927 and went public in 1992. The company is helmed by CEO Michelle Gass and listed on both the S&P 400 and the Fortune 500. Kohl's store brands include diffusion lines from high-end designers, as well as celebrity branded clothing sold exclusively through the company. Kohl's private brands generate nearly half of the firm's $19 billion in annual sales. These include in-house clothing brands such as American Beauty, Apt. 9, Croft & Barrow, Jumping Beans, So, Tek Gear, and Urban Pipeline. Kohl's uses a "racetrack" layout with a single aisle that circles the entire store, a layout borrowed from discount stores.
Polish immigrant Maxwell Kohl opened a corner grocery store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1927. It went on to become a successful chain in the local area; the first Kohl's supermarket opened in 1946. In 1962, the company branched out by opening its first department store. Maxwell positioned Kohl's between the higher-end department stores and the discounters, selling everything from candy to engine oil to sporting equipment. In 1972, the British American Tobacco Company's U.S. retail division, Batus Inc., bought a controlling interest in Kohl's Corporation. By the end of the decade, it had expanded Kohl's presence from 10 to 39 stores in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. A group of investors purchased the company in 1986. Building on the existing 40 department stores, the company added 27 more over the next two years. In 1988, the chain acquired 26 locations from the Chicago-based retailer MainStreet, gaining several stores in Chicago's suburbs, the Twin Cities, and Michigan. Kohl's completed its initial public offering on May 19, 1992 and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. During the 2000s, Kohl's expanded nationwide to 49 states, and hired New York City advertising agency DeVito/Verdi in 2009 to strengthen its brand via a series of national television, online, and social media campaigns. In 2015, the company opened the first test store of Off/Aisle, a chain built around selling like-new clothing, home goods, jewelry, and accessories that were purchased and returned at Kohl's stores. The stores sold items at discounted prices, and had a more restrictive return policy than typical Kohl's stores. The Off/Aisle stores were ultimately closed in 2019. On April 25, 2022, it was announced that Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, the owners of JCPenney, have set an offer to buy Kohl's.
Kohl's aims to be the leading family-focused, value-oriented specialty department store in America, with strong merchandise and exclusives to its name.
Kohl's vision is to offer families a retail experience that caters towards all their needs, in an environment that is enjoyable and approachable.
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Retail and Consumer Goods