Placer Bytes: Kohl’s, Pier 1 and Target’s Activewear

A Rough Holiday Season for Kohl’s

Having CNBC’s Jim Cramer call your company ‘roadkill’ is certainly not an ideal way to start the year for Kohl’s. However, there are strong indications that the weaker than hoped for holiday period was actually a result of elements beyond the brand’s control, namely the length of the holiday season. 

Looking at the period from January 2018 through December 2019 shows a difficult, but mixed period for the brand. Apart from a summer peak, most months in 2019 saw traffic declines compared to 2018. That said, the positive momentum created in the summer did not have the same ability to flourish late in the year. While there was a minor year-over-year decline in December, the biggest hit came in November where visits saw a 3.8% decline from 2018 to 2019. This could be largely related to the shorter holiday period stemming from a late Thanksgiving.

Does this mean all is rosy for Kohl’s? Certainly not. Does it mean that the prognosis could be far brighter than currently thought? Definitely.

Pier 1’s Steep Decline

Pier 1 recently announced that it would be closing even more stores amounting to nearly half of its total locations. Not surprisingly, this comes after an especially difficult holiday period where the brand saw major foot traffic declines in November and December. Overall traffic fell year-over-year, when analyzing the period of January 2018 to December 2019. November visits fell 31.4% and December declined 34.1%.  This is a very steep fall that turned back some positive momentum that had been gained in the earlier part of the year.

With the announcement of closures, much of Pier 1’s rebound potential will center around the company’s ability to identify the right sites to close.

Target Dives Into Activewear

Watch out Lululemon, Target is coming to activewear. And while pitting two of the most interesting brands in retail against each other is certainly interesting, it may not be the case here. Analyzing nationwide visits to both retailers shows that Lululemon is targeting a much higher income segment than Target. Target sees 23.9% of its audience coming from homes that earn more than $100,000 for the period analyzed. Yet, this number is dwarfed by the 44.2% that Lululemon sees from this same audience. 

The move could be an amazing test of Target’s ability to push upmarket with massive impact across its core offerings.

Is Kohl’s in a better spot than most think? Can Pier 1 maximize its coming closures? Will Target move in on Lululemon’s turf? Visit to find out.

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