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Kohl’s last week unveiled eight new stores in seven states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Hampshire, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina, bringing the retailer’s store count to 1,134 units in 49 states.

This story first appeared in the March 12, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Seven of the new units are small-format stores with about 64,000 square feet or less of retail space. The company has said its store openings will be disproportionately tilted toward this format for the foreseeable future.

The smaller footprint gives Kohl’s more real estate options, such as urban areas where the 90,000 square feet of space needed for a full-size store is scarce or prohibitively expensive. The new stores feature updated checkout stations, newly designed shopping carts, reinvented beauty departments, fitting-room lounges, expanded customer service areas relocated to the front of the store, in-store kiosks and electronic signs for all departments.

Kohl’s Corp., which saw profits decline in the fourth quarter by 7.9 percent, admitted its stores and merchandise weren’t exciting enough for customers. Chairman and chief executive officer Kevin Mansell said in February that the retailer will open fewer new stores and remodel fewer stores this year as part of a plan to introduce a new prototype store layout that addresses the need for changes in space allocation due to the expansion and introduction of new categories and new brands. Kohl’s plans to remodel 50 stores this year.

In apparel, Rock & Republic launched at Kohl’s this spring and Princess Vera Wang, a new Junior’s contemporary premium lifestyle collection will be unveiled in August.

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