Home Kohl’s Spotlights Holiday Gifting As Macellum Questions Leadership
October 18, 2022
Kohl’s Spotlights Holiday Gifting As Macellum Questions Leadership
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Kohl’s unveiled its top gifting categories and trends for the holiday season even as activist investor Macellum restarted its campaign to shake up the company’s leadership.

Kohl’s announced that it is offering enhanced gifting offerings for the holidays in categories such as outdoor, smart home technology, apparel, beauty and pets.

In its home holiday assortment, Kohl’s is featuring Amazon and Google smart home products, the new generation Echo Dot smart speaker, and the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition smart tablet. For the kitchen, Kohl’s is emphasizing products from KitchenAid, Ninja, Cuisinart and Keurig, the company noted. The domestic assortment for the season also includes blankets from Koolaburra by Ugg and Cuddl Dud as well as holiday decor and keepsake ornaments.

New outdoor products include Duraflame Stoves, Igloo Coolers, Columbia Tents, GoTrax Electric Bikes and GCI portable folding chairs. Merchandise designed for gifting ranges from board games, puzzles and stocking stuffers to personalized gifts, prank sets and cocktail kits, the company indicated.

With in-store shopping getting traction as COVID-19 concerns decline, Kohl’s has elevated the sales floor experience for the holidays with active and outdoor products as well as the creation of in-aisle space to highlight popular gifting items.

Kohl’s also plans to feature female-owned brands such as Pinch Provisions, Tone it Up, and Teleties, as well as emerging labels including Coalatree, Atticus, and Smiley, which all offer unique gift options for friends and loved ones. Discover @ Kohl’s will include a “Gifts That Give Back” section where the company is curating brands such as Love your Melon, Conscious Step, Colors for Good, Ethic Goods and Headbands for Hope, which all offer a purpose beyond profit, making gift giving more meaningful this year.

Kohl’s also will give consumers the opportunity to shop more than 100 exclusive-to-Kohl’s toys as well as featuring top brands such as LEGO, Melissa & Doug, and Hot Wheels while a variety of apparel initiatives including a wide assortment of matching holiday pajama sets from Jammies For Your Families, LC by Lauren Conrad, Cuddl Duds and others.

“We know our customers have many options to choose from during the holidays, but where Kohl’s stands apart is in our tremendous breadth of categories, mix of national and private label brands, and incredible value differentiators that make shopping at Kohl’s a go-to destination for the season,” said Ron Murray, Kohl’s interim chief merchandising officer. “This year, we’ve expanded our gifting categories with new and popular brands, products and styles that will help customers shop for everyone on their holiday gift list.”

On the corporate side, Macellum, which recently forced a proxy fight with Kohl’s board, is publicly engaging the retailer, having made public a letter that it sent to shareholders. This comes just weeks after Kohl’s received a letter from Ancora Holdings Group asking for a leadership change.

The latest letter, over the signature of Jonathan Duskin, Macellum managing partner, read, in part:

Kohl’s is having one of the worst years in its long history. Despite a challenging macroeconomic backdrop, Kohl’s results are the worst among its direct peers across almost every relevant measure. The board has also overseen the termination of what we argue was a deeply flawed sale process, the departures of three key executive officers and the downgrade of the company’s long-term credit rating to junk by S&P Global Ratings. In our view, the operational problems at Kohl’s transcend macroeconomic variables and stem from self-inflicted execution issues that we conveyed to the board and leadership two years ago, first privately then publicly, but which have gone unaddressed. We believe this is a function of an ineffective board, led by chairman Peter Boneparth, and the other longest tenured members of the executive committee that we contend represents a “shadow board.” In our view, the board and, more specifically, the shadow board is failing to adequately support Kohl’s senior management, which has resulted in the destruction of billions of dollars of shareholder value recently and perpetual stagnation over the long-term.

 

The facts supporting the case for immediate board change at Kohl’s has become abundantly clear to us. In an effort not to be a distraction, we have attempted to work privately with the board over the past two-and-a-half months to explore a plan that includes replacing several long-tenured directors with independent, qualified retail experts. The board contends that the shareholder vote at the 2022 annual meeting of shareholders is proof they have shareholders’ support today. We believe that had the true degree of business deterioration, senior executive departures and flawed sale process been known by shareholders at the time of the 2022 annual meeting, there may have been a different outcome, which is why we write today. We believe there is an urgent need for change now, rather than waiting another eight months for another contested election at the 2023 annual meeting. If our fellow shareholders agree, we hope you will make your voices heard.

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