Shoppers enter the Kohl's store in South Burlington, Vt., on . Kohl's Corp.'s fourth-quarter net income increased 14 percent as merchandise profit margins improved through exclusive brand offerings and tight inventory managementEarns Kohls, South Burlington, USA

Kohl’s Corp., seeking to pull itself out of the doldrums and take a fresh approach, is eliminating 250 positions and shaking up the ranks of senior management, WWD has learned.

Among those leaving Kohl’s are Michael Gilbert, executive vice president of product development, as well as Chris Kolbe, senior vice president design and trend. Some divisional merchandise managers are also leaving, sources said.

Doug Howe continues as Kohl’s chief merchandising officer.

While streamlining, the team of general merchandise managers will be expanded from four to seven so merchants are more specialized and can sharpen their focus on assigned categories. One source said a kids gmm will be added.

WWD has also learned that a new corporate strategy will be unveiled at next month’s investor conference under the theme “Growth Agenda.” Kohl’s has been operating under “The Greatness Agenda,” which was built on five “pillars,” or initiatives, to provide what the company listed as “amazing product, incredible savings, easy experience, personalized connections and winning teams.”

“Today, we restructured parts of our organization to create a more customer-centric focus and position Kohl’s for long-term success. This reorganization in our business will empower decision-making, reduce management layers, streamline communications and drive greater efficiency in many areas of our business. This includes the difficult but necessary decision to eliminate approximately 250 positions,” said Jen Johnson, Kohl’s senior vice president of communications.

Johnson said the departures include “removing a layer of regional store leadership roles and positions, restructuring teams in our merchant organization, and changes to other positions in our corporate offices. We put a great deal of thought and planning into this decision and have offered a competitive severance package and outplacement services to help all affected associates as they transition to their next step. We deeply thank these associates for their contributions and years of service at Kohl’s.”

While Kohl’s in the last few seasons has shown depressed results, Johnson emphasized that that the retailer “is in a position of financial strength. We are not closing any stores or corporate offices and we are continuing to hire in key areas.”

“Kohl’s is continuing to invest in many areas of the business including our stores, technology and strategic growth initiatives. The organizational changes we’ve made are driven by the evolution of our strategic business priorities to create a more agile and empowered organization to support our long-term sustainable growth.”

“They are going to up the number of gmms,” said the source. “They’ll be more planning and allocation oriented,” the source said. Planning and allocation will continue to report to Howe.


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