Kohl’s sees drop in demand in areas hit by coronavirus, but no impact to online shopping

Kohl’s headquarters
Kohl’s headquarters in Menomonee Falls.

Add coronavirus to the list of challenges already facing brick and mortar retailers.

In a securities filing on Friday, Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp. said it has recently experienced “a softening in customer demand particularly in those areas most affected by the virus.”

Kohl’s added it has not seen any impact in digital demand.

“The company is maintaining its strong focus on expense management and cost control, while leveraging the strength of its balance sheet,” the filing said.

Kohl’s defines its digital sales as orders that originate online, but has noted in previous filings that a significant number of store assets are used to fulfill digital sales, including pick up in store initiatives. A majority of digital returns are also taken in-store.

Through the first three quarters of last year, digital sales represented around 21% or nearly $2.6 billion of Kohl’s net sales. Digital sales were up low double digits from the same period in 2018.

Kohl’s also announced the postponement of its investor day scheduled for March 16.

“As the spread of COVID-19 has continued, the Company believes it is most important to prioritize the immediate safety and well-being of its customers and Associates and the day-to-day operations of the business,” the company’s filing said, adding it would look to reschedule the investor day.

Earlier this week, Kohl’s had opted to move its presentation from in-person to an online webcast only.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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