Kohl's is putting in place a new chief merchant as the company accelerates its bold new omnichannel strategy.
The company has hired 30-year retail veteran Doug Howe to be its new chief merchandising officer. In this role, Howe will be responsible for Kohl’s overall merchandise strategy and all merchandising functions, including buying, planning, product design and development, sourcing, and merchandising transformation efforts. He will continue to drive the company’s key strategies of cultivating a strong portfolio of national and proprietary brands, accelerating speed to market, and delivering strong inventory management. Howe will report directly to CEO-elect Michelle Gass, who .was the company's chief merchant before being named CEO.
“Doug is a proven merchant and a visionary leader with a strong track record of driving growth through compelling products, brands, and customer experiences,” said Gass. “He brings a unique combination of skills given his extensive background in working across digital retail channels, department stores, and mass retailers.”
Kohl's has been making aggressive moves to turn around its business, including partnering with Amazon and Aldi, remodeling and "rightsizing" stores, and turning up the volume on digital promotions.
“I’m very excited to join Kohl’s – a company I’ve admired for many years,” said Howe. “Specifically, I’m motivated by the unwavering focus placed on product, and the importance of providing customers with quality brands at compelling values. As Kohl’s continues to transform, the future looks very bright, and the evolution in recent years is exciting and inspiring as they are standing out in the industry.”
Prior to joining Kohl’s, Howe was Global Chief Merchandising Officer at the Qurate Retail Group, leading QVC’s and HSN’s product leadership agenda by identifying emerging trends and white spaces for growth, developing category strategies, and attracting top vendors and providing product services to the Group’s businesses. Prior to being named Chief Merchandising Officer for Qurate Retail Group, he led QVC’s Merchandising efforts for ten years and played an instrumental role in the growth of QVC’s fashion business and development of the company’s proprietary businesses.
Prior to QVC, Howe held leadership roles with Gap Inc. in product design and development. He also held various merchandising leadership roles at Walmart, including SVP of Strategy, Design and Development. Howe started his retail career at May Department Stores, where he held several successive positions in the merchandise division, including Senior Vice President & GMM.
Kohl's has more than 1,100 stores in 49 states.