Contact Us

Kohl's Plans 100 New Small-Format Stores, Softens Stance Against Company Sale

A Kohl's department store in Beaverton, Oregon

Despite touting multiple business expansion strategies, Kohl's is struggling to keep some of its loudest shareholders happy.

In the month after rejecting takeover bids from multiple activist investors, Kohl's began working with bankers and other financial advisers to consider future unsolicited bids and seek out other potential buyers, executives said at the company's investor day on Monday, CNBC reports. A week earlier, Kohl's released its Q4 earnings report, which showed $6.22B in revenue over the three months ending Jan. 29, slightly short of analyst projections.

Among its quarterly updates, Kohl's announced that it opened 200 miniature Sephora stores within its own locations last year, to be followed by 400 such mini-stores this year and 250 in 2023, bringing Sephora to 850 Kohl's locations all told. Over the next four years, the company is on track to open 100 new, small-format stores, which will average 35K SF compared to the standard 80K SF footprint for existing Kohl's stores, CNBC reports.

Kohl's CEO Michelle Gass said the partnership with Sephora, which is owned by luxury brand conglomerate LVMH, could grow to a $2B portion of its business as it reorganizes its apparel strategy around active and casual wear, CNBC reports. Gass also touted an introduction this year of a self-serve option for in-store pickup of orders placed online.

At the beginning of the year, Kohl's boasted 1,162 locations across the U.S., a large percentage of which it owns outright. That is one of the sticking points for critics of Kohl's leadership, including activist shareholder Macellum Capital Management, which owns about 5% of the publicly traded chain's stock and has been seeking to place its managing partner Jonathan Duskin on the board. Duskin and others believe Kohl's could unlock billions in capital by executing sale-leaseback deals for swaths of its portfolio.

Another strategic move Macellum and others have called for is the buying back of its shares, which Kohl's announced it plans to do for $1B of stock this year in its presentation to investors. The retailer also plans on doubling its dividend payout to shareholders this year.