Kohl’s Corp. has turned to Jason Wu as it looks to turn around its fortunes after a disappointing first quarter.
The department store chain today revealed that Wu would be designing an exclusive, limited-edition women’s apparel capsule this holiday season for Kohl’s stores nationwide and kohls.com.
Inspired by classic Hollywood glamour, the Jason Wu holiday exclusive designs for Kohl’s will be available this November and feature signature pieces for holiday dressing, including dresses, jumpsuits and jackets.
“I am excited to bring my designs to the Kohl’s customer and give her beautifully designed pieces that will add dimension to her wardrobe,” Wu said.
He follows in the footsteps of Elizabeth and James, founded by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. As first reported by WWD earlier this year, they struck an exclusive partnership to bring the Elizabeth and James contemporary brand to Kohl’s, starting for holiday.
The collaborations come at a pivotal time for Kohl’s as it unveiled a lackluster first quarter, triggering a 12 percent slide in its share price to $55.15.
Comparable sales dropped 3.4 percent in the quarter ended May 4, while net sales slid to $3.82 billion from $3.95 billion a year ago. Analysts had been expecting them to come in at $3.94 billion.
At the same time, net income was $62 million, or 38 cents a share, down from $75 million, or 45 cents a share, a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, it was 61 cents per share, below Wall Street’s forecasts for 68 cents.
As a result, the company trimmed its adjusted full-year profit guidance to between $5.15 to $5.45 per share, from $5.80 to $6.15 previously.
“While we continue to remain excited about our strong pipeline of innovation and newness we acknowledge that the year has started off slower than we’d like and we have adjustments under way to get us back on track,” Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief executive officer, said in a call with analysts. “The first quarter featured a lot of volatility with February being particularly soft. And while March and April trends did improve they were below our expectation.”
Gass, who took over the helm last year, blamed the sales decline on three factors — unseasonable weather, soft business in its home category and less productive key promotional events — and stressed that it was addressing all of these issues.
As for tariffs, Gass added that she was “obviously disappointed” that the government followed through with its threat to increase levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, many of which were consumer facing and include handbags, to 25 percent from 10 percent. These tariffs mainly impact Kohl’s China-sourced merchandise in its home and accessories categories, of which around 20 percent come from the Asian giant.
The company may soon have to contend with more tariffs, though, as the government is preparing the paperwork to unleash another round of 25 percent tariffs on the rest of Chinese imports that have not yet been targeted. That would include apparel and footwear.
On the brighter side, Gass said the company is “incredibly excited” about its nationwide rollout of the Amazon returns program that it had been trailing in certain markets.
“We and Amazon together feel this is a highly complementary breakthrough program that will offer all of our customers a great experience,” she said. “We are incredibly excited about the potential of this program. It has been rigorously tested for the past 18 months in Chicago and Los Angeles and more recently in Southeast Wisconsin.”