The story of their company began
in 1962 when Max Kohl opened the first Kohl's Department Store
in Brookfield, Wisconsin. He started his career with a small
grocery business that developed into the largest supermarket
chain in the Milwaukee area. Then he expanded into retail,
creating Kohl's Department Stores. He positioned Kohl's between
the higher-end department stores and the discounters, selling
everything from candy to engine oil to sporting equipment.
BATUS, Inc., the U.S. division
of BAT Industries, (British American Tobacco) PLC, purchased an
80 percent stake in the Kohl's Food and Department Stores and
took complete control of the company. At that time, the Kohl
family withdrew from the operations of the company.
BATUS, Inc. sold Kohl's Food Stores to Great Atlantic and
Pacific Tea Company (A&P). A&P closed the Kohl's food stores in
management-led group of investors formed Kohl's Corporation and
Kohl's Department Stores from BATUS, Inc. At
that time, they operated 40 stores with annual sales of $300
million and over 5,000 Associates.
ranked 8th in Wisconsin's top 100 privately owned companies.
Over 80 percent of their merchandise carried national brand
names recognized for quality – setting the company apart from
mass merchandisers and discounters. The chain dropped
low-volume, low-margin departments such as candy, sewing notions
and sporting goods in favor of higher-margin merchandise such as
linens and jewelry.
greatest growth to date came with the purchase of 26 Main Street
stores from Federated Department Stores. This acquisition
increased their store count to 66 stores and enabled us to move
into new markets in Michigan, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago.
1988 – 1992 their sales
increased from $388 million to $1 billion.
took a major step in preparing for their future growth by
becoming a public company when they completed an initial public
offering of 11.1 million shares, one of Wisconsin's largest
initial offerings. They began expanding and upgrading their
distribution facilities, automating merchandise handling and
developing plans to open 14-16 new stores each
year. Their distribution center in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin,
which supplied their stores with 98 percent of their
merchandise, was expanded to 500,000 square feet. This was
enough capacity to service 120 stores.
From 1992 to 1999 they
more than tripled their number of stores to 259, while their
revenues quadrupled, from $1.1 billion to $4.6 billion. Their
stock split two for one in April 1996.
Kohl's joins the S&P 500. Their
stock splits two for one in April.
fourth distribution center was completed in Blue
Springs, Missouri. It had capacity for 80 to 100 stores and
served the South Central part of the country.
2000 They operated 298
stores in 25 states with 43,000 Associates. They targeted
several new markets, entering the Northeast, including
Connecticut, New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area.
they also added an e-commerce fulfillment center in Monroe,Ohio. Their
stock split two for one in March.
2001 They entered the fast
growing Atlanta market with 15 stores. Other new markets
included Arkansas, Oklahoma City, Austin, Fayetteville and El
Paso. To facilitate this drive into the South Central part of
United States, they opened a fifth distribution center in
Corsicana, Texas. The introduction of Kohls.com brought online
shopping to their customers, providing the added convenience of
shopping from home.
2002 They entered the
Boston and Houston markets and also opened their first stores in
New Hampshire and Rhode Island, as well as in Nashville,
Tennessee. Kohl's introduced a new store prototype designed for
smaller markets. New distribution centers opened in Mamakating,
New York to support the Northeast region, and in Corsicana,
Texas to support the Houston market and the South Central
region. Net sales were $9.1 billion in 2002.
2003 Their then CEO Larry
Montgomery was appointed chairman of the board of
directors. They opened 28 stores in California, giving their
company a coast-to-coast presence for the first time in their
history. These stores were supported by a new distribution
center in San Bernadino, California. In late 2003, we continued
our Southwest expansion, with new stores in Arizona and Nevada
bringing their total to 542 stores.
2005 They opened 95 stores
in both new and existing markets, operating 732 stores in 41
states at the end of the year, supported by 107,000 Associates.
New markets included Buffalo, New York and Orlando and
Jacksonville, Florida. To support this new southeastern
push, they opened their eighth distribution center, in Macon,
opened 85 new stores, including their expansion into the
Northwest with new stores in Oregon and Washington. They now
operated in every region of the country. To support this new
region, as well as their continuing growth in the
Southwest, they opened their ninth distribution center in
Patterson, California, with the capacity to support 110 stores.
By the end of the year, they operated 817 stores in 47 states
with 114,000 Associates. They introduced a new innovation store
design. From the exterior showcase windows displaying the latest
fashions, to creative merchandise displays highlighting the
newest trends, the innovation stores encouraged our shoppers to
browse every department. They expanded their collection of
exclusive lines with the introduction of Tony Hawk and Chaps for
women and boys.
In September, they introduced
the Food Network brand and launched the highlyanticipated Simply
Vera Vera Wang line. The Simply Vera Vera Wang launch was the
largest launch in their history and was designed in partnership
with the celebrated American designer Vera Wang. The collection
spans the entire store, including readyto-wear misses',
accessories, jewelry, footwear, intimate apparel and soft home.
2008 they introduced
Jumping Beans, a new children's private brand and Gold Toe, a
national hosiery brand; expanded the Elle brand to all stores
nationwide; launched the Bobby Flay line, an expansion of their
Food Network relationship; and launched FILA Sport, a collection
of women's, men's and children's apparel, footwear and
accessories. In August, Kevin Mansell was named President and
Chief Executive Officer. Larry Montgomery, former CEO, remains
opened their first store in Alaska, expanding their presence to
49 states. Spring marked the launch of the Dana Buchman and Hang
Ten brands. Dana Buchman is a modern classic brand which spans
several categories, including women's apparel, intimate apparel,
accessories and footwear. Hang Ten is a California lifestyle
collection for young shoppers. They also announced an exclusive
agreement which expands their current Mudd merchandise
assortment in apparel, accessories, jewelry and domestics. In
April, they announced an exclusive partnership with Lauren
Conrad, for LC Lauren Conrad, a contemporary lifestyle brand
that will launch in the women's department inapproximately 300
Kohl's stores and Kohls.com October 2009. The brand is
ultimately planned to expand to all stores nationwide.
The history continues.. to
learn the rest, please visit Kohl's.
The mission at Kohl's is to be the
leading family-focused, value-oriented, specialty department
store offering quality exclusive and national brand merchandise
to the customer in an environment that is convenient, friendly
You can learn more about
Kohl's Corporation at their website.
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