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Kohl's To Accept Amazon Returns At All Locations By Summertime

A Kohl's department store in Beaverton, Oregon

Kohl's is doubling down on the corporate partnerships that have helped set it apart from its struggling department store contemporaries.

The retailer has announced plans to accept returns of Amazon purchases at all of its locations starting in July, CNBC reports. Kohl's had been accepting such returns at 80 of its locations since 2017, when it entered a partnership that allowed it to sell Amazon home products such as the Echo and Fire TV. That program recently expanded to 100 stores, and now will be implemented at all 1,150 Kohl's locations.

Customers will be able to return select items without a box or label at Kohl's, which will then package those products and send them back to Amazon warehouses, according to CNBC. Making space for such returns has been part of a company-wide redesign for Kohl's initiated in 2017, headlined by shrinking the footprint of half of its stores from 90K SF to 60K. Kohl's has also opened a handful of smaller-format stores averaging 35K SF.

Kohl's has forged further partnerships in recent months to fill the space it had given back from its stores with high-traffic retail concepts. Early last year, the store announced that several of its locations would be joined by grocery store Aldi, which is comfortable in footprints in 30K SF or so. Kohl's has brought in Planet Fitness as a tenant next to more of its shrinking stores, CNBC reports. Both partners will have their own entrances and co-exist as neighbors to Kohl's, rather than attempt to integrate indoors.

Kohl's has outperformed contemporaries like JCPenney and Macy's in the past year, seeing its stock price jump 22% over that time, according to CNBC. Stores in the Chicagoland area, most of which have been accepting Amazon returns as part of the pilot, have outperformed their counterparts nationwide in terms of sales while seeing a 9% growth in first-time shoppers, compared to 1% across Kohl's portfolio, CNBC reports.