The company’s financial picture is the envy of the retailing industry, analysts said. Revenue is up, to $13.4 billion last year, from $6.2 billion in 2000, during which time profits rose to $842 million, from $372 million. Shares of Kohl’s rose $1.61, to $69.14 on Wednesday.
And on Thursday, when the nation’s retailers report September sales for stores open at least a year, a closely watched industry measure, Kohl’s is expected to report a 16 percent increase, above the industry average, which is in the single digits.
Kohl's has done this well by being determinedly mid-market:
The no-frills, no-mall, no-full-price retailing model of the Kohl’s department store has turned the once-quiet Wisconsin company into a clothing industry powerhouse ...So why am I reading this:
So the chain’s once-steadfast focus on the classic, traditional consumer — who had a family and bought snowflake mock turtleneck sweaters and plaid button-down shirts — has expanded to include clothing like white fur vests from Daisy Fuentes, a brand exclusive to Kohl’s.And this:
In a coup, Kohl’s wooed the designer Vera Wang — a name associated more with Sak’s and Bloomingdale’s than discount retailers — to design a line of contemporary clothing, handbags, shoes and home goods. The products will reach stores in autumn 2007.And this:
The company has said it will make women without children, who typically have more disposable income and crave more fashionable merchandise than the average Kohl’s shopper, a priority in its merchandise and marketing.Why is it that stores have this craving to move "up-market"? I have always suspected that it's because the execs are embarrassed to be running a store where they and their friends wouldn't be caught dead shopping.
But then I'm a cynic.
Obviously, the people who are running Kohl's are successful merchants who presumably know their market a whole lot better than I do, but every time I read about a store moving up-market, I hear a voice whispering "sell that stock."