Kohl’s Sees Wellness — and ‘Shop-in-Shops’ — as Keys to Growth

Kohl’s Sees Wellness — and ‘Shop-in-Shops’ — as Keys for Growth
Kohl's wants to extend its position of health and wellness into essentials like personal care and cleaning solutions.

Health and wellness is making its way deeper into retailing, and a new merchandising push from Kohl’s serves at the latest example of that trend.

The chain said it is piloting a “shop-in-shop” concept called Kohl’s Wellness Market.

The goal, according to the retailer, is to extend its position of health and wellness into essentials, like personal care and cleaning solutions. With an initial pilot in 50 stores, as well as the ability for all customers to shop essential products on, the Wellness Market is meant to make the retailer a convenient shop for customers’ wellness lifestyle needs, Kohl’s said.

The curated market will feature an assortment of products across home, beauty, personal wellness, baby and pet care, with an emphasis on products that offer clean, natural or sustainable attributes — meaning customers can pick up everything from vitamins and deodorant to baby wipes and cleaning supplies. The assortment will include top national brands, such as Seventh Generation, Shea Moisture, The Honest Company and Zarbee’s.

This new health-and-wellness emphasis comes as Kohl’s pushes further into active casual wear. The retailer recently launched a private label specialty athleisure brand, FLX (pronounced “flex”), which will be available in select stores and online at beginning March 2021. 

“As customers have been increasingly shopping for a more comfortable and casual lifestyle, Kohl’s identified a plan to more aggressively serve as the most trusted retailer of choice in these categories,” said Doug Howe, chief merchandising officer at Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based Kohl's. “With an emphasis on high-quality athleisure, FLX fills a white space in our current private-brand portfolio and will be a great answer to these growing consumer trends." 

The introduction of FLX is just one way that Kohl’s continues to invest in the growing categories of active and casual apparel. Building on its commitment to inclusive sizing, Kohl’s has expanded its size offerings in active apparel with the launches of Under Armour and Adidas Plus earlier this year, and Under Armour Big & Tall last fall. 

As Kohl’s active business continues to grow, it has also increased square footage of the area dedicated to active by 25% in approximately 160 of its 1,110 stores. It has also launched Adidas shop-in-shops in 175 stores across the country, allowing customers to shop a curated assortment of Adidas products in its own branded section — including everything from apparel to shoes and accessories. 

Kohl’s is hardly the only retailer to use health and wellness as part of its plan for growth. Union, New Jersey-based Bed Bath & Beyond, in the midst of a retail turnaround effort, is focusing on that retail category — among others — and it strives to build revenue and become better at omnichannel commerce.

"We have made tremendous progress this year to strengthen our financial position, focus our portfolio in core Home, Baby [and] Beauty & Wellness markets, rebuild our executive team, and launch a series of omnichannel services to win back customers," said Mark Tritton, Bed Bath & Beyond's president and CEO. "We will build on these strong foundations with a three-year growth strategy that further elevates the shopping experience, modernizes our operations, and unlocks sales growth, margin expansion, increased cash flow, and strong and sustainable total shareholder return."

By completely resetting its assortment, Bed Bath & Beyond aims to provide a more curated, inspirational and differentiated product collection across categories. Over the next 18 months, Bed Bath & Beyond expects to launch more than 10 new owned brands in key destination categories, with the goal of tripling the penetration of owned brands within its assortment over three years.

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