The More You Gass, The More You Kohl’s…

Kohl’s Corp has just announced today that Michelle Gass will be taking on the position to oversee marketing and e-commerce as from June 17th 2013 as Chief Customer Officer. Gass developed innovative techniques that did wonders for Starbucks, where she worked for more than 16 years. She was also appointed President of Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Now, she will be taking her much applauded talent to Kohl’s in a bid to improve on their already better than good financial status.

Gass did wonders with Starbuck’s ‘Frappuccino’ brand that is now estimated as being worth $2 billion. 2008 was a bad year for everyone around the world and Gass managed to change that for Starbucks in particular, halting the free-falling coffee sales as the market reached saturation. She certainly turned things round but in the process closed down 900 stores around the world and cut costs by $600 million. She reduced the range of coffees available to clients by 40%. Instant coffee was something that just turned people off. It didn’t have the rich, velvety flavor that Starbucks wanted to get across as a major selling point to its customers…so, Gass rebranded it as ‘Ready Brew’ and sales started to take off again. Amazing what a change in name can do to sales, isn’t it? ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’? Oh, how wrong we can be! Change the name, and you change the way it’s perceived even if it smells the same! That’s what Gass managed to do. That’s what Gass does so well. Now it’s Kohl’s that wants some (more) of the corporate pie in the world of textiles and apparel and home-furnishings.

The US department chain Kohl’s was founded in 1962 and currently has 1, 146 stores across the US in almost every state. It’s the 20th ranking retail store in the US at the present time where revenue is concerned and it comes in at 4th place for department-store sales in the US.

Gass will be working directly alongside Chairman and CEO, Kevin Mansell at Kohl’s Corp. She has an excellent track record and despite the fact that Kohl’s seems to be looking pretty stable finance-wise (even if there is a slight drop in income since this time last year: from $1.2 billion to $986 million), she is being brought in to improve on that stability and deal with the changing world of how we consume today. The target is to drive marketing techniques and build on e-commerce business sections for the company. On-line shopping has existed as part of Kohl’s Corp since 2000, attracting almost 60 million shoppers per annum. Kohl’s wants to develop that.

Recent statistics in on-line shopping show that figures have jumped from a meager 10% to a substantial 85% (of those with internet access) that shop on internet these days. Penetration rates in some parts of the world reach as high as 97% (Germany and Japan, for instance). Clothing amounts to some 36% of all internet sales these days and it’s that area that Kohl’s wants developed in a bid to cut costs and increase sales and revenue. The more you know, the more you Kohl’s…

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