C-SUITE

Kohl’s CEO to retire in May; successor named

BY Marianne Wilson

Kevin Mansell, chairman, CEO and president of Kohl&#039s, will retire in May 2018 at the end of the company’s annual shareholders meeting. The 35-year Kohl&#039s veteran has served as its chief executive for nearly 10 years.

Michelle Gass, currently Kohl&#039s chief merchandising officer and customer officer, will assume the CEO role upon Mansell&#039s retirement. Sona Chawla, Kohl’s COO, will assume the role of president. The Kohl&#039s board said it plans to appoint one of its independent members as chairman to replace Mansell in that role.

Gass joined Kohl’s in 2013 as chief customer officer, with responsibility for marketing and the e-commerce business. In 2015, her role expanded to also include chief merchandising officer. Prior to Kohl’s, Gass spent nearly 17 years at Starbucks where she held a variety of leadership. She began her career with Procter &amp Gamble.

Chawla joined Kohl’s in 2015 as COO. Previously, she spent seven years with Walgreens in a variety of senior leadership roles including president of e-commerce and president of digital and chief marketing officer. Prior to joining Walgreens, she was VP of global online business at Dell.

In the 35 years that Mansell has been with Kohl&#039s, the company has grown from a local Milwaukee-area retailer with a dozen locations to a national retailer with more than 1,100 stores across 49 states, with annual sales of $19 billion. During Mansell&#039s tenure as CEO, the company, among other accomplishments, significantly expanded its brand portfolio and grew its e-commerce business to $3 billion. Most recently, he led the retailer into a closer relationship with Amazon. Kohl&#039s will begin accepting (and shipping back) Amazon returns at 82 stores beginning next month.

"I look forward to this last year of my career, building on the positive momentum we have going into the holidays, furthering the development of our operational excellence and traffic-driving plans and ensuring a seamless transition for our associates, partners and shareholders," said Mansell.

In his remarks, Mansell praised his newly appointed successor.

“Michelle has been an instrumental leader in shaping the future at Kohl’s – one where we continue to put the customer first, focus on innovation, speed and agility and remain dedicated to the long-term financial health of the business,” he said. “Michelle’s leadership of our merchandise and marketing organizations has proven her talent, passion, vision and readiness to lead our organization. The retail industry is going through a transformational amount of change and Michelle is extremely well qualified and positioned to lead Kohl’s through this evolution.”

In assuming the role of president, Chawla will maintain her responsibilities for the company’s omnichannel operations including all store operations, logistics and supply chain network, information and digital technology, and e-commerce strategy, planning and operations.

“Sona’s leadership has significantly impacted our ability to become a best-in-class omnichannel retailer,” said Mansell. “She has been laser-focused on delivering a seamless omnichannel customer experience, leveraging technology to make us more productive, and amplifying the role and relevancy of our stores as our biggest strength.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Nordstrom in deal with fast-growing online apparel start-up

BY Marianne Wilson

Nordstrom is collaborating with a retailer known for its high-quality, ethically made fashion basics and "radical transparency."

The department store retailer's themed pop-up shop concept, [email protected], will be dedicated to a collection of products from Everlane. The in-store shop will launch in eight Nordstrom stores on Sept. 29, and run through Nov. 12. Items will also be available online.

Everlane's shop design at Nordstrom will be in line with the brand’s minimal aesthetic, and feature clean lines and warm tones. The shop will carry a wide range of categories, including denim, cashmere, shoes, leather goods, with goods for men and women.

The deal is Everlane's' first in-store retail partnership. The company launched online in 2011, with a promise of “radical transparency.” On its site, the retailer discloses how much it costs to make each item, breaking it down by materials, labor, duties and transport. It also reveals its markup. Everlane is set to open a retail store in its San Francisco hometown.

"I really believe in Everlane’s mission, and think they’ve become distinguished leaders in the transparent retail space,” said Olivia Kim, VP of creative projects for Nordstrom. “Their transparency model is forging a new path in retail by cutting out the middleman, and showing customers exactly where their products are being made and how much they really cost.”

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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Discounter opens ‘store of the future’

BY CSA STAFF

Big Lots has finally unwrapped its store of the future.

Located in the company’s hometown of Columbus, Ohio, the store has a less promotional, softer look. Gaudy, aggressive signs have been replaced with more traditional aisle markers and color coding have replaced the chain’s signs that “shouted” at customers, Columbus Business First reported. Customers are greeted with a big “Hello” on a wall as they enter, with a “thank you” sign on the way out.

For more, including photos, click here.

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