As part of its turnaround plan dubbed the “Greatness Agenda,” Kohl’s has revamped its 22-year-old store brand Sonoma, recently re-launching it in stores.
“Sonoma Goods for Life,” which includes mens, women’s, and kids apparel as well as home goods, has undergone a design, packaging, and marketing revision that Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief merchandising and customer officer, says will be “a more exciting and cohesive offering.”
Much of the offerings have been simplified, quality is higher, and the supply chain will move more swiftly in order to cut back on promotions and move inventory, according to reporting from Fortune magazine.
Kohl’s revamp of its Sonoma brand could be a sign of good things to come for the struggling retailer, especially if it proves to be a microcosm of the retailer itself.
Kohl’s enjoys high loyalty among many of its customers and has an advantage of stores located mostly away from malls (which provides easier access and plenty of dedicated parking). But the same stores are often muddled and employees aren’t always helpful to shoppers. This makes for several “pain points” that can make shopping there problematic, Shelley E. Kohan, VP of retail consulting at store analytics firm RetailNext, told Retail Dive earlier this year.
“I almost think that they’re focused on so many strategies that maybe they’re walking away from some important areas,” she said of its turnaround.
Now, it seems that Kohl's is applying a tight focus to the Sonoma brand re-launch, which began more than a year ago with the hiring of brand consulting company Graj & Gustaven. Heeding its advice, the retailer moved some offerings under the Sonoma brand to other in-house brands, including some jewelry, women's T-shirts, and holiday home decor. This shift has helped Kohl's focus on the quality of the remaining products under the brand.
If the Sonoma revamp succeeds, Fortune says that Kohl's may use its turnaround as a guide for re-launching other in-house brands. It's a crucial part of its business, with private-label brands bringing in almost half of Kohl's annual sales, according to Fortune.
“The health of our private brands is critical to our success,” Gass told Fortune. “Given that this is our largest brand, it touches the most categories than any other brand; it has big implications.”