Kohl’s Private Brands Carry the 4Q

Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin based department store retailer Kohl’s attributed its double-digit net income and high single-digit net sales and comp gains in both the fourth quarter and full 2010 fiscal year largely to rigorous inventory management practices and the continued strong performances of its large portfolio of private and exclusive brands.

“We’re very excited about the progress we made last year in both our private and exclusive brands,” said Kevin Mansell, chairman, president and CEO, during the earnings call.

For the year, private and exclusive brands reached a staggering 48% of sales – almost 300 basis points higher than the prior year. And while there was “wide-spread successes” across both of these categories, some of the “very strongest increases” came from Kohl’s exclusive brands including Simply Vera Vera Wang, he explained.

“While the success of these helped propel our top line they also provided support to achieve a consistent improvement in merchandise margin,” Mansell added.

Kohl’s expects this trend to continue in this new fiscal year, especially in the second half of 2011 when they will launch the Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony exclusive programs in apparel and accessories for men and women – representing Kohl’s “largest brand initiative in terms of scope and investment we have ever made.”

“We clearly outperformed our direct competition for the year, achieving the highest total sales increase for the year, leading to the largest market share gain,” Mansell said.

“In 2011, we expect consumers to remain very interested in value and ways to make their dollars go further and we will remain focused on increasing market share,” Mansell said.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.