Kohl's is closing stores in malls to fend off the curse of the retail apocalypse

Business Insider/Jessica TylerKohl’s is closing stores.
  • Kohl’s is closing four stores that are either based in or close to malls this year.
  • It described these stores as “lower performing” locations.
  • Kohl’s is one of the few department stores that has been somewhat immune from the retail apocalypse. Experts say this is because the majority of its stores are located outside of malls.

Kohl’s is retreating from the mall.

Earlier this month, the department-store chain disclosed in an SEC filing that it would be closing four of its stores this year. It described these stores, which are located either in a mall or close to one, as its “lower performing” locations.

In the same announcement, Kohl’s said it would be opening four smaller stores, which would keep the company’s overall store count at 1,158. These smaller-format stores are 35,000 square feet in size, or around one-sixth the size of a typical Macy’s store.

A spokesperson for Kohl’s told Business Insider that all impacted associates have been offered the opportunity to take employment at other Kohl’s stores or to accept a severance package.

Kohl’s has been called an industry anomaly in recent years, as it is one of the few department stores to report strong sales and avoid store closures during the retail apocalypse. Experts say it has managed to do so because the majority of its stores aren’t located in malls.

“We don’t think of ourselves as a department store,” CEO Michelle Gass said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal. “We aren’t in malls.”

95% of Kohl’s 1,158 stores are located off-mall and in other areas away from enclosed shopping centres.

Read more:
Kohl’s CEO explains how the retailer has avoided the department store meltdown

Now, it looks like Kohl’s wants out of the mall completely as it looks to focus on its smaller-scale stores to drive growth. Further doubt has been cast over whether these shopping centres have a future in the US as more and more retailers wind down their mall-based stores.

According to a 2017 report by Credit Suisse, 20% to 25% of malls are likely to close in the next five years, thanks to the thousands of store closings that have been announced.

These are the Kohl’s stores that are closing:

  • Kohl’s Rego Park Center, Rego Park, New York
  • Kohl’s Valley Stream, Green Acres Mall, New York
  • Kohl’s Lenexa, Kansas (across from Oak Park Mall)
  • Kohl’s Houma, Houma Crossing Mall, Louisiana

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