Kohl's on Tuesday announced a partnership with Drew and Jonathan Scott, twins who host a number of home renovation shows on HGTV, which will include an exclusive home lifestyle collection, "Scott Living at Kohl's," for Fall 2019.
The collection will feature "modern home basics and décor, including furniture, bedding and bath, kitchen décor and more," in all stores, with an assortment available online, the company said in a press release.
Kohl's has added to its private label and partnership-based assortments in apparel, too. This week the retailer announced a new women's private-label plus brand and previously forged tie-ups with Nike and POPSUGAR. The company also offers Amazon concessions and returns in some stores.
Kohl's joins rival Target, which a year ago launched a home and lifestyle brand designed with Chip and Joanna Gaines — the duo behind Magnolia and the hit show "Fixer Upper" — in turning to popular HGTV home shows to help with merchandising.
The launch of Target's Hearth & Hand with Magnolia is part of its concerted effort to double down on exclusive brands and designer partnerships. The mass merchant plans to unveil 12 new private label lines in apparel and home to cement its "Tar-zhay" image, a key differentiator that helps offset the price war the retailer and its rivals are in when it comes to grocery and consumables.
Kohl's operates more like a department store, without the grocery and consumer goods that bring in shoppers to Target, but has similarly worked to differentiate its merchandise in the last couple of years. The retailer appears to be making the best of its advantages, which include strong loyalty from shoppers and locations mostly apart from struggling malls. But strong new initiatives in supply chain and merchandising, as well as omnichannel services are also helping set it apart from rivals, analysts say.
In the recent past, its stores had been jumbled, but the retailer has cleaned things up and is taking control of its inventory levels and clearance racks, according to analysts at Jane Hali & Associates. Kohl's' partnership with Amazon, which some analysts had viewed as a potentially troubling move, is also driving more shoppers to its stores, prompting an expansion of the program.
It's all paying off. Kohl's last month reported that second-quarter total revenue rose 4% to $4.6 billion, its fourth straight quarterly revenue beat. Comparable sales rose 3.1% after dipping 0.4% a year ago, and margins expanded 42 basis points to 39.5% in the quarter, as reported net income rose 40% to $292 million from $208 million a year ago. The retailer also raised its earnings guidance for the year.
Other partnerships with Lego and FAO Schwarz and its exclusive LC Lauren Conrad denim, Simply Vera Vera Wang and Urban Pipeline brands are all stoking shopper interest, according to GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders. The retailer will have some difficulty maintaining its robust year-over-year increases, but it remains in a good position to continue its momentum, Saunders said.