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Kohl’s SWOT & PESTLE Analysis

ID : 52338453 | Jan 2018


Business Sector : Retail

Operating Geography : North America, USA

About Kohl's : Kohl’s Corporation, or simply Kohl’s, is an American publicly traded, departmental retail store chain founded on 12th September, 1962 in Milwaukee, United States. It is America’s largest departmental retail store chain operating more than 1100 stores across 49 states and generating an annual sales of approximately USD 18 billion. As of January, 2017 it had close to 138000 full-time and part-time associates. It offers apparel, footwear, accessories for men, women and children as well as home products and home wares. It offers a mix of private label and exclusive brands as well as national brands.

Kohl's Revenue : $ 18686 million – 2016

Competitive Analysis of Kohl's

The SWOT analysis for Kohl's is presented below:
1. Strong Merchandising
2. Strong Brand Equity
3. Strong Distribution Network
4. Bargaining Power over Vendors
1. Minimal Global Presence
2. Seasonality
1. Potential in Online Markets
2. Potential in Emerging Economies
1. Change in Government Policies
2. Increased Competition

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Detailed SWOT Analysis of Kohl's



1. Strong Merchandising: Kohl’s stores have a fairly consistent assortment of merchandise across its stores which helps in maintaining a standard among the customers. Also the wide range of products offered at the stores ranging from national labels to private and exclusive labels helps in increasing sales. Its private brands such as Apt. 9, Croft & Barrow etc. are well-known and established in the US market. Also it targets the middle-income segment customers with housewares and home products which forms a core business segment for them.

2. Strong Brand Equity: Having being in operation for more than 50 years, Kohl’s enjoys a great amount of trust and loyalty among its customers. This loyalty has made Kohl’s into the number 1 retailer in US of many national brands such as Levi’s, Columbia etc. Their focus on creating personalized connections with their customers serves as a key competitive advantage which helps in retaining their existing customers as well as win new customers.

3. Strong Distribution Network: Kohl’s enjoys a strong distribution network spread across the length and breadth of US which helps it in maintaining inventory and easy shipping and delivery. It has 9 retail distribution centres which help in easy shipping of inventory to the retail stores several times in a week. All the stores of Kohl’s are equipped to ship online orders which helps in reducing distribution costs. It also has 5 online-fulfilment centres which are dedicated to shipping online orders.

4. Bargaining Power over Vendors: Kohl’s has employed a distributive property over its vendors due to which it is not strategically dependent on any single supplier. During the fiscal year of 2016, none of its vendors individually accounted for more than 5% of its net purchases in that year. This reduces the dependency as well as the bargaining power of the vendors. Also Kohl’s has a strong Terms of Engagement policy which covers various environmental, ethical, compliance and employment laws and vendors are expected to follow these terms meticulously to continue relationship with Kohl’s. In this way Kohl’s is also promoting sustainability.


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1. Change in Government Policies: Any change in government policy such as taxation, interest rates, political situations etc. can directly affect the consumer spending levels, which can cause a dent in the revenue stream of the company. Majority of merchandise for the company, outside of US, is sourced from Asia. Any change in government policies or trade relations can directly impact the business of the company since that would affect the supply chain operations of the company.

2. Increased Competition: Kohl’s has been facing increasing competition both in B&M stores as well as online channel. The advent of new players has diminished the market share of Kohl’s. Style, quality and price are 3 major competitive factors in the apparel industry and Kohl’s is facing increasing competition due to change in customers’ tastes and preferences in all the 3 categories. Stores like Zara, H&M etc. are offering trending products in the markets, in sync with the changing tastes and preferences at competitive prices which is eating into the market share of Kohl’s.

The PESTLE/PESTLE analysis for Kohl's is presented below:
1. Regulations and policies of Trump administration
2. Effect on consumer spending due to government policies
1. Inability in raising capital
2. Increasing cost of business
1. Emerging fashion trends
2. Kohl’s care initiatives
1. Population purchasing online
2. Technological shift in businesses
1. Regulatory approvals delay decision making and business growth
2. Change in tax laws and regulations
1. Showcasing environmental responsibility
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Detailed PESTLE Analysis of Kohl's



1. Regulations and Policies of Trump Administration: The majority of merchandise for Kohl’s, outside of US, is sourced from Asian countries. The trade policies and regulations put in place by the current US government such as disallowance of tax deductions, imposition of unilateral tariffs etc. can have a detrimental effect on the vendor relationships of Kohl’s. This can result in a delay in sourcing merchandise in a time and cost-effective manner. This would not only increase the acquisition cost of the products but also affect the demand and in turn the sales at the stores.

2. Effect on Consumer Spending due to Government Policies: A large consumer base of Kohl’s is the middle-income group which is highly susceptible to changes in government policies. Uncertain economic conditions and slowdown in the US economy are of chief concern to Kohl’s since they directly affect the consumer spending habits, forcing customers to save more, and spend less thereby leading to a decrease in revenue.


1. Inability in Raising Capital: Kohl’s has traditionally relied on public-debt markets and line of credit facilities with financial institutions to meet its capital requirements. However owing to the recent changes in capital and credit markets and fluctuations in the interest rates, the capital raising capability of the company might be adversely affected since the cost of acquiring capital would increase. If indecision exists in the market, then that would lead to unfavourable market conditions, as a result of which raising capital on existing terms would become difficult, which would adversely impact the operating activities and the cash flows.

2. Increasing Cost of Business: Whereas the revenue and sales are falling due to unpredictable market conditions, the cost of doing business is increasing. This is largely due to the increased competition in the country. A customer today in US has many options in front of him so there is a dire need to increase the marketing and advertising cost to stay relevant in the eyes of the customer, a fact evident from the financials of the company. Similarly there is a rise in operational costs as well. All this is contributing to an overall increase in the cost of business.


1. Emerging Fashion Trends: Following in the footsteps of celebrities is a common social trend across all the demographics and geographies. The core user base of Kohl’s, i.e. women and younger generation, who follow the ongoing trends in the society, is a very important factor which drives Kohl’s to deliver celebrity brands at competitive prices. Kohl’s needs to stay up to date with the current fashion trends due to the availability of large number of alternate players in the market.

2. Kohl’s Care Initiatives: Apart from observing the changing social trends, another important factor is to be aware of the social and environmental issues and work towards sustainability. It is important to reach the consumers as well as the non-consumers through social programs and initiatives to increase their involvement in such activities. Kohl’s Cares Initiatives, through many outreach programs, tries to work upon these social issues to reach to the customers.


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This section is available only in the Complete report on purchase.

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Kohl's SWOT and PESTLE analysis has been conducted by Mrinal Ojhaand reviewed by senior analysts from Barakaat Consulting - an Ezzi IT and Business Consulting venture.

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