Apparel and home goods retailer Kohl’s is setting up to see some changes this year. The franchise plans to close 18 of its stores by the end of 2016. The stores shuttering their doors have not been performing well, but this marks the first time that Kohl’s has had to close some locations. The company’s sales rose only .4% during the holiday season, which is doubly disappointing because the 2015 holidays were the most lucrative ones yet. Overall, Kohl’s sales rose only 1% over the last year.
“While the decision to close stores is a difficult one, we evaluated all of the elements that contribute to making a store successful, and we were thoughtful and strategic in our approach. We are committed to leveraging our resources on our more productive assets,” said Kohl’s CEO Kevin Mansell.
The closures will only affect 1% of Kohl’s stores. The company does plan to open more stores this year, smaller versions of their regular locations, each about 35,000 square feet. Kohl’s will also expand its newest chain of outlets, Off-Aisle, by building two additional stores. In addition, the brand will open 12 Fila outlet stores.
By closing the planned 18 stores, Kohl’s will save about $55 million a year. The company isn’t concerned about its performance overall; in fact, it sees the changes it’s making as contributing to a forward-thinking strategy that considers future payoff and growth. It is, however, making some sacrifices in the short-term: Kohl’s had previously promised its investors that sales would rise from the $19 billion it made in 2014 to $21 billion by 2017. It’s unlikely that Kohl’s is going to meet that deadline by 2017.
Mansell isn’t sure what the long-term goals for the store will look like just yet. He and the company will closely monitor the stores’ performance in the upcoming year to see what needs to happen next.
Carter Harrison, an analyst at Conlumino, a retail research firm, anticipates good things for Kohl’s. “It is especially encouraging that such a move is only one part of a wider package of measures, many of which involve more positive steps to reinvigorate the company.”