Kohl’s is continuing its strategy to add more high-profile labels and reinvigorate its merchandising mix.
Kohl’s will today reveal that it is partnering with Reese Witherspoon’s company, Draper James, to launch Draper James RSVP, an exclusive capsule collection. The line will be introduced in February in 500 Kohl’s stores, with an expanded presence adjacent to the Sephora at Kohl’s in 300 stores, and on kohls.com.
Designed to bring contemporary Southern style to Kohl’s customers, the collection will feature feminine dresses, structured blazers, bodysuits, blouses and button-down cardigans, as well as skirts, rompers and seasonal capris. Among the key looks are floral puff-sleeved shirt dresses, midi wrap dresses, eyelet blouses, and rompers, lapel collar blazers and paper bag shorts. Retail prices range from $44 to $98, and sizes go from XS to XXL.
“When we thoughtfully make the decision to add a new brand to our exclusive portfolio, it’s critical that the product line not only addresses a voice, but also provides meaningful differentiation to our current assortment. This is definitely the case with Draper James,” said Doug Howe, Kohl’s chief merchandising officer. “Reese has done a beautiful job creating a brand that is based on a foundation of classic American style, steeped in Southern charm that is relevant, feminine and pretty. We look forward to providing access to this brand to both our existing and new customers.”
Witherspoon launched Draper James in May 2015 as an online brand. The signature Draper James line is currently sold at draperjames.com, as well as four freestanding stores in Nashville, Lexington, Ken., Atlanta and The Galleria in Houston. The Draper James line ranges from $30 for accessories up to $250 for select dresses. In September, Draper James said it had partnered with Lands’ End to add sleepwear, loungewear, home goods and pet products to the mix. As reported, last month Draper James and the Hermitage Hotel, Nashville, introduced a new staff wardrobe, custom-designed by Draper James exclusively for the hotel.
“We’ve been fortunate to have introduced Draper James to a wonderful and loyal group of customers to date, but with our expansion into Kohl’s, we’re excited about the opportunity to bring Draper James’ unique Southern style to millions more customers nationwide,” said Reese Witherspoon. “We think Kohl’s customers will come to love how our clothes help women feel confident, modern and put together with beautiful and easy-to-wear transitional pieces from our collection.”
At the launch of the collection in 2015, Witherspoon told WWD, “One of our tenets is ‘unapologetically pretty.’ Like, what’s wrong with being pretty? That went out the window a long time ago. In the South, there’s a lot of color, prints, tradition, traditional fabrics like gingham, plaids, stripes. There’s also definitely a feeling that what you wear makes you feel better, especially if you’re wearing color, prints or joyful things.”
The label’s name borrows from those of her maternal grandparents Dorothea Draper and William James Witherspoon.
Kohl’s has been pursuing a strategy to bring in more high-profile labels. Among the newly launched national brands at Kohl’s are Sephora, Eddie Bauer, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Lands’ End and Cole Haan. Some 200 Sephora outposts are expected at Kohl’s this fall, and by 2023, Sephora will be in at least 850 Kohl’s stores.
In-store space for Draper James RSVP will vary, but will include several fixtures. Draper James RSVP will be available in all stores that also have Sephora at Kohl’s. In these stores, Draper James RSVP will be featured prominently in a space adjacent to Sephora, an area directly behind the Sephora at Kohl’s shop, dedicated to a rotating collection of seasonal brand assortments.
As Kohl’s is being reset for Sephora, the retailer is highlighting its new offerings and pushing its emphasis on active and casual fashions, Kohl’s sweet spots. For example, Calvin Klein launched intimates, basics and loungewear at Kohl’s, and Tommy Hilfiger men’s sportswear and underwear has been introduced at the retailer as well. Among some of Kohl’s women’s collections are Simply Vera Vera Wang, LC Lauren Conrad, Nine West, and Gloria Vanderbilt.
Michelle Gass, chief executive officer of Kohl’s, said she looks to move beyond the traditional dynamic between retailers and brand wholesalers.
“I like to talk about the brands we carry really as partners as opposed to vendor relationships,” Gass said last August. “It’s about business partners coming together. We’re better together than apart.”
Earlier this year, Gass said she was taking the opportunity to “reflow all of our categories” to optimize while “downsizing other categories like jewelry and accessories.”
“There’s more coming,” she said last March. “We’re going to have a tightly curated brand portfolio. We are elevating and transforming our brand portfolio to fulfill our new vision. Everything will be fully connected. The Kohl’s store will have all the great things you love about Kohl’s warm, inviting experience, but then we’ll be even more aspirational.”
For the second quarter ended July 31, Kohl’s revenues rose 30.5 percent to $4.4 billion from $3.4 billion. Net income was $382 million, up from just $47 million a year earlier when the pandemic kept shoppers closer to home.
Kohl’s will report third-quarter earnings on Thursday.
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