Wal-Mart Targets Kohl’s

Jun 27, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A poster on the wall at Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, AK says it all. “Who is taking our business? Kohl’s.”

Lee Scott and company have identified the department/discount store hybrid Kohl’s as its most serious competition in clothing and accessory sales.

Bill Dreher, retail analyst with Deutsche Bank told Reuters, “Wal-Mart indicating that Kohl’s is stealing their business means that they are intent on going after the apparel retailing market just as they’ve gone after the food and drug retailing markets.”

Moderator’s Comment: Will Wal-Mart be as successful
in capturing share of the apparel retailing market as it has been in food and

We’d never bet against Wal-Mart for the same reason given
to Reuters by Michael Collins of Bain & Co. — “They are maniacally focused
on the consumer and the competition.”

That said, clothing offers fewer apples to apples comparisons
than grocery and drug retailing. Here, the Tide Wal-Mart sells is the same Tide
the local grocery stores sell. Wal-Mart having a lower price is a clearer value
to the consumer.

In apparel, Wal-Mart and Kohl’s will both sell Levi Strauss
jeans. Wal-Mart, however, will sell a low-priced proprietary line of Levi’s
while Kohl’s will offer established lines such as 501 jeans.

Anderson – Moderator

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