STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Kohl's goes all-in on Amazon, bringing free returns to every store

Kohl's brought Amazon into a small number of stores almost two years ago. Now Kohl's is throwing its full weight behind the partnership.The department...

Posted: Apr 24, 2019 4:10 AM
Updated: Apr 24, 2019 4:11 AM

Kohl's brought Amazon into a small number of stores almost two years ago. Now Kohl's is throwing its full weight behind the partnership.

The department store announced on Tuesday that it will accept Amazon customers' order returns for free — even without their shipping box — at all of its more than 1,150 US stores beginning in July. Shoppers can drop off their returns at customer service desks, and Kohl's will package and ship the items back to Amazon using its own logistics network.

The plan marks a major expansion of Kohl's relationship with Amazon, one that analysts say is among the most creative tie-ups in retail.

Jefferies analyst Randal Konik said in a research note Tuesday that the partnership illustrated that "stores are needed, even as online shopping becomes increasingly pervasive."

Kohl's began accepting free returns for Amazon customers in 2017. The retailer started a test with Amazon at 82 stores in Los Angeles and Chicago at the time and has since added close to two dozen stores in Milwaukee to the pilot.

CEO Michelle Gass believed that joining with Amazon could help attract younger shoppers to its stores. Gass and her team hoped that when customers returned their Amazon orders, they would stick around after and shop the store. For Amazon, the partnership gave it convenient locations for customers to drop off their returns.

Gass told analysts in March that customers have welcomed the service. "It's really unique. It takes a lot of the hassle out of returning items," she said.

Kohl's has never disclosed how Amazon returns have helped sales at pilot stores. But Chicago stores that accept Amazon returns have attracted new customers, according to a report by data analytics firm Earnest Research last month.

On Tuesday, Gass said the partnership was an "example of how Kohl's is delivering innovation to drive traffic to our stores and bring more relevance to our customers."

Kohl's stock ended the day up nearly 12% after the expansion plan was announced.

Separately, Kohl's said last month that it would sell a small selection of Amazon merchandise at more than 200 stores.

Some analysts believe that Kohl's could go further with Amazon, including bringing new Amazon concepts to its stores, such as Amazon Go, Amazon Books, or Amazon 4-Star.

Kohl's could even lease out store space to Whole Foods. Kohl's is experimenting with shrinking the size of some stores, and it has partnered with Aldi and Planet Fitness to open up several supermarkets and gyms next to Kohl's.

"This is just the beginning," Konik said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of Kohl's stores in the United States.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 9294

Reported Deaths: 209
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah230169
Marion156447
Washington144620
Clackamas77324
Umatilla6204
Union3471
Lincoln3272
Deschutes1920
Lane1803
Linn1549
Polk14912
Malheur1401
Jackson1310
Yamhill1318
Jefferson1260
Klamath1231
Hood River880
Benton835
Wasco751
Morrow721
Clatsop490
Douglas440
Coos410
Josephine411
Columbia310
Lake190
Tillamook120
Crook110
Wallowa100
Curry70
Baker40
Grant10
Harney10
Sherman10
Gilliam00
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 246550

Reported Deaths: 6265
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1077923457
Riverside18720465
San Diego15207377
Orange15065354
San Bernardino13152265
Imperial6824100
Alameda6384138
Fresno562677
Kern493977
Santa Clara4750159
Tulare4521133
San Joaquin429855
San Francisco371950
Sacramento355969
San Mateo3376108
Contra Costa332678
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Kings258332
Marin244619
Stanislaus239144
Monterey174815
Solano147625
Sonoma12299
Merced120811
Placer75411
San Luis Obispo6752
Yolo58324
Madera5665
Santa Cruz4103
Napa3444
San Benito2572
Lassen2340
Butte2063
El Dorado2060
Sutter2063
Humboldt1384
Shasta1354
Nevada1231
Glenn1220
Yuba1031
Tehama881
Lake850
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Calaveras530
Del Norte511
Tuolumne430
Mono411
Inyo321
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Amador260
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 56°
Brookings
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Few Clouds
50° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 50°
Grants Pass
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Klamath Falls
Few Clouds
50° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 50°
Beautiful 4th of July Weekend Ahead
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events