As Retail Shakeout Continues, Kohl’s Is Upping Its Shoe Game

As the pandemic continues to roil retail, Kohl’s is moving quickly to differentiate itself from rivals. A big focus? Upping its shoe game.

A few months after adding Toms Shoes and Lands End, Kohl’s said today it would introduce Cole Haan for spring ’21.

Men’s and women’s casual, sport and dress styles will be stocked, including Cole Haan’s Zerogrand oxfords, loafers and knit sneakers.

Doug Howe, Kohl’s chief merchandising officer, said in a statement the label would complement other brands in the assortment, including Nike, Adidas and Under Armour. “We’ve seen tremendous opportunity around what’s happening in the active and casual space,” Howe noted. He said Cole Haan stands out by mixing performance and lifestyle trends.

The brand will be available in 200 stores, with an expanded assortment available online at Kohls.com.

David Maddocks, brand President of Cole Haan, said the partnership would help the brand become more accessible to a broader range of consumers. “As a leader in national brands, as well as innovation, customer service and technology, Kohl’s is an incredible retail partner for our casual lifestyle assortment,” Maddocks said.

As it steadily adds new names, the company is forging ahead with a game plan to capture more market share as its rivals go bankrupt.

In August, Kohl’s said it sees “billions of dollars” of market share opportunity as JCPenney, Steinmart and other bankrupt rivals close stores.

“We think about [this] both from a short-term standpoint and a long-term standpoint. There are literally thousands of stores that, unfortunately, have faced some pretty dire consequences and are facing closures,” said CEO Michelle Gass in a conference call after the company beat both earnings and revenue estimates for its second quarter. “And we have a playbook that we’ve used in past at a very localized level to go after those customers, new customer acquisition, and go after that market share.”

In the call, Gass noted that premium athletic footwear, which carries higher price points than much of Kohl’s assortment, has been showing strength. In addition, apparel from Nike, Adidas and Under Armour is resonating as the athleisure boom continues.

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