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Veteran retail analyst Walter Loeb is calling it: Kohl's is quickly fading into irrelevancy. In a Forbes contributing article, Loeb outlines the ways in which Kohl's has failed to make the comeback it so desperately needs, starting with the recent massive influx of national and exclusive brands that the Kohl's customer can't possibly keep straight. In the past, Kohl's focused on private label brands like Sonoma and Croft & Barrow but has moved on to partnerships with Nike, Adidas, Keds, Juicy Couture, and a slew of other nationally-recognized labels, which Loeb thinks is a wrong move.
"The private labels have always enjoyed great acceptance by the core customers because they represent unusually good value," Loeb writes. "Cutting private labels could prove problematic for the company." He also pointed to JCPenney's stumbling years with Ron Johnson as prime opportunity for Kohl's to swoop in, but they did not take advantage of it.
In order for Kohl's to save itself, it needs to become way more focused on the consumer. "When shopping in a Kohl's store I don't see the focus that other stores project," Loeb writes. "Over the years I have seen Kohl's become overstocked when changing merchandising strategies—a risk once again as they shift to more brands. Let's hope they will become more consumer centric, worry less about give-away coupons, and garner consumer respect in this very competitive environment."
· Why Kohl's is An Irrelevant Retailer [Forbes]
· How Your Favorite Stores Get Their CEOs [Racked]
· It's a Very Lauren Conrad Christmas For Kohl's [Racked]