Kohl’s wants to get into sportswear.
At its annual investor presentation on Monday morning, Kohl’s outlined a plan to make the company the number one destination for activewear. To do this, Kohl’s is leveraging partnerships with existing suppliers, deepening its house brands and strengthening its focus on the high-growth athleisure and outdoor categories.
“Our mission is to be the active lifestyle authority for every family,” Kohl’s chief marketing officer Doug Howe said at the company’s annual investor presentation Monday.
According to Kohl’s, maintaining strong relationships with major sportswear leaders, including Nike, Under Armour, Adidas and Champion, is key to maintaining a strong position with consumers in a rapidly growing category. In 2021, the retailer active business increased by more than 40% compared to 2020. In the fourth quarter, active sales increased by approximately 25% compared to 2020 and 2019, in clothing and footwear for women, men and children, representing approximately $4.4 billion in sales penetration.
As Nike resumes operations with select wholesale partners, Kohl’s remained confident in its partnership with the leading sportswear brand, with CEO Michelle Gass calling the company’s relationship with Nike “tremendous.”
“We have a great partnership,” Gass said. “They’re a key part of our genre next chapter as we talk about our stores.”
Kohl’s also said it plans to open more than 100 new, smaller-format stores over the next four years.
To promote the active category, Kohl’s said it would move activewear products to the front of its stores and expand the assortment. Kohl’s also plans to invest more in its outdoor activities. For example, Kohl’s plans to expand the Eddie Bauer and Under Armor brands to all stores in 2022, as well as expand its business with Columbia Sportswear and Lands’ End.
In addition to popular national active brands, Kohl’s is bolstering its private brands such as Tek Gear and FLX. Owning these collections allows Kohl’s to have more flexibility in pricing these items.
“Active continues to play a key role in driving our sales growth,” Gass said on a call with investors last week. “We are extremely pleased with the continued very strong growth there.”