Type Public
Traded as NYSEKSS
Industry Retail
Founded 1962
Headquarters Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, U.S.
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics, and housewares.
Revenue increase US$18.4 Billion (FY 2011)[1]
Operating income increase US$1.92 Billion (FY 2011)[1]
Net income increase US$1.11 Billion (FY 2011)[1]
Total assets increase US$13.6 Billion (FY 2011) [2]
Total equity increase US$8.1 Billion (FY 2011)[2]
Website kohls.com

Kohl's Corporation (NYSEKSS) is an American department store chain headquartered in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, operating as of September 2011, 1,089 stores in 49 states.[3] In 1998, it entered the S&P 500 list, and is also listed in the Fortune 500 (#135 in 2010). The chain was the 24th-largest retailer in the United States in 2008 in terms of revenue.[4]




Maxwell Kohl, who had previously operated traditional grocery stores, built his first supermarket in 1946, the first in what would become a southeastern Wisconsin chain known as Kohl's Food Stores.[5] In 1962, he started his first department store, Kohl's Department Store, in Brookfield, Wisconsin. He 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 US retail division, BATUS Inc., bought a controlling interest in Kohl's Corporation, which at the time operated 50 grocery stores, six department stores, three drug stores and three liquor stores.[6] The Kohl family, led by Allen and Herbert Kohl, continued to manage the company. The family left the management in 1979, and Herbert Kohl became a United States Senator and owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. The firm then expanded Kohl's presence from 10 to 39 stores in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. The grocery stores were sold to A&P in 1983, operating under the name Kohl's Food Store, and later Kohl's Food Emporium. In February of 2003, A&P put the Kohl's Food Stores up for sale, as part of an effort to reduce debt. In June of 2003, A&P announced their plans to close all Kohl's Food Stores and administrative offices. By the end of 2003, all Kohl's Food Stores locations were closed.


A group of investors, including the senior management, purchased the company in 1986, and the company added 27 more stores in the next two years. In 1988, the chain acquired 26 locations from Chicago-based MainStreet, gaining several stores in Chicago's suburbs, Minneapolis, Minnesota and parts of Michigan, the first of which opened its doors on January 15, 1989 in Roseville, Michigan. In 1992, the company went public and a period of expansion began. Kohl's entered mid-Atlantic markets in 1997 (opening in many former locations of Clover, an offshoot of the Strawbridge's corporation brand department stores in the Philadelphia region); Texas, Missouri and the Northeast in 1999 (the latter market resulting from its purchase of many former Caldor locations); Georgia and the Southeast in 2001; New England in 2002; California and the Southwest in 2003; and the Northwest in 2006. In April 2005, the company opened stores in Florida and other Southern states. Kohl's has replaced many former Mervyns stores in the western U.S.

Kohl's design office opened in January 2007, located in the heart of New York's garment district. The 23,000-square-foot (2,100 m2) facility, located at 1359 Broadway, is the company's first product-design facility in the nation's fashion capital.

Existing stores are undergoing renovations to make them more modern and more like up-scale department stores. These re-modeled stores must be of a certain age and profit group in order to qualify for remodeling.

On October 13, 2009, Kohl's announced it was closing its oldest distribution center, located in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, in order to more efficiently service its expanding number of stores. The inventory from the Menomonee Falls distribution center will be moved to a newer distribution center in Ottawa, Illinois.

On late 2010, Kohl's will be opening 40 new stores in the 2011 fiscal year.

As of January 2011, Kohl's stores were in 49 of the 50 states (only excluding Hawaii.)

Store design

The exterior of a typical Kohl's department store in Northeast Columbia, SC.

Although some locations are in enclosed shopping malls, the majority of stores are free-standing.

Kohl’s operates differently from traditional department stores, like Macy's or Nordstrom. The most noticeable distinction is that Kohl's stores have centralized checkout aisles, where a single line is used for check-outs.

Kohl's also uses a "racetrack" aisle that circles the entire store, a technique borrowed from discount stores but rarely used in department stores.[7]

In 2011, Kohl's announced plans to remodel 100 of its 1,100 locations. Changes will include redone store sections, fitting rooms, and newer merchandise displays.[8]

Kohl's Merchandise

Kohl's stores feature nationally recognized brand-name merchandise, exclusive labels, and private-branded goods, virtually the same merchandise mix as traditional department stores. The stores sell a variety of goods, such as apparel, shoes, and accessories for women, children and men, and home products such as small electronics, kitchen electrics, electric shavers, toothbrushes, vacuums & floor care, bedding, toys, and luggage.

Exclusive lines

Private brands

  • Apt. 9
  • Sonoma
  • Croft & Barrow
  • Jumping Beans
  • Urban Pipeline
  • Moments
  • So...
  • Tek Gear

Online shopping

The company has had a World Wide Web presence since 1998[9] and has offered online shopping since 2000. The domain kohls.com attracted at least 58 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com survey.

A virtual store on Stardoll has launched with the brands Candie's, Abbey Dawn and Mudd Jeans. Hang Ten was added to the store in 2010.[citation needed]

Environmental record

In 2009, Newsweek magazine cited Kohl's in their "Green Rankings" [10] which examines 500 of the largest corporations on their environmental track record. Kohl's was ranked 18th out of 500 overall, and was ranked 1st in their industry. Newsweek remarked that Kohl's has the largest solar power program of any retailer globally, that they pursue green building certification and over 78 locations in six states have solar panels. In addition, in 2008, Kohl's started to sell reusable shopping bags. [11]

2010 Sustainability Report

In 2010, Kohl's published a Sustainability Report detailing their mission, sustainability strategies, and plans for the future. [12] Kohl's actively pursues 5 distinct areas related to sustainability including, energy efficiency, building design, emission reduction, recycling / minimizing waste, and stakeholder engagement. The following are the highlights from each area for 2010.

  • Kohl's had 590 ENERGY STAR labeled stores and 100 solar powered locations. The company also purchased enough green power to offset 100% of its energy use.
  • 72 stores and 1 office building achieved LEED certification.
  • For the first time, Kohl's achieved net zero emissions for the year. This is managed by reducing the company's carbon footprint that results from transportation, and other energy uses.
  • Kohl's recycled 77% of all the waste that the company generated in 2010. The company is the most efficient with cardboard / paper recycling. 79% of all products in this category were recycled during the year.
  • For the first time, Kohl's celebrated National Volunteer Week and Earth Day by encouraging associates to volunteer in their community, which lead to over 35,000 hours of volunteering.


  1. ^ a b c Kohl's (KSS) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest
  2. ^ a b Kohl's (KSS) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest
  3. ^ "Kohl's Corporation SEC 10K/A Filing". Kohl's. 2011-09-13. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=60706&p=irol-SECText&TEXT=aHR0cDovL2lyLmludC53ZXN0bGF3YnVzaW5lc3MuY29tL2RvY3VtZW50L3YxLzAwMDExOTMxMjUtMTEtMjQ2ODUxL3htbA%3d%3d. 
  4. ^ Top 100 Retailers: The Nation's Retail Power Players (PDF), Stores, July 2009.
  5. ^ Daykin, Tom. "1st Kohl's supermarket to be next Lena's." Milwaukee Sentinel June 14, 2002 [1]
  6. ^ Milwaukee Sentinel 10-28-1972, p. 6, pt. 2
  7. ^ Epmeier, Bill (2009-06-02). "A 'racetrack:' would it work for supermarkets? | Store Equipment & Design | Find Articles at BNET". Findarticles.com. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BPE/is_4_10/ai_74991370. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  8. ^ "Kohl's unveils new look at Burlington store". The Boston Globe. 2011-03-25. http://www.boston.com/business/ticker/2011/03/kohls_unveils_n.html. 
  9. ^ "KOHL'S Department Stores - shopping, retail jobs, career opportunities". 1998-12-05. Archived from the original on 1998-12-05. http://web.archive.org/web/19981205014312/http://www.kohls.com/. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  10. ^ "Newsweek, Greenest Big Companies in America – The 2009 List". retrieved July 21, 2010. http://www.newsweek.com/2009/09/20/the-greenest-big-companies-in-america.html. 
  11. ^ "Newsweek –Green Ranking- Kohl's". retrieved July 21, 2010. http://greenrankings.newsweek.com/companies/view/kohl-s. 
  12. ^ "2010 Sustainability Report". retrieved October 30, 2011. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9MTA1OTg5fENoaWxkSUQ9LTF8VHlwZT0z&t=1. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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