Retail

Earnings Call: Kohl’s Has Hit a Rough Patch With Millennials

Image Credit: Mike Mozart

Kohl’s first-quarter numbers disappointed. Revenue was down 2.9% year-over-year, sales down 3.3%. 

On August 20, the retailer is expected to announce its second-quarter numbers, with the street expecting earnings of $1.56 a share, which would mark a one year decline of over 11%.

So the bad news is obvious: The numbers haven’t been good. But the hidden bad news? Shopper sentiment has declined as well. In fact, for the first time since CivicScience has been tracking the data, Americans 18+ who have a neutral view of Kohl’s has eclipsed those who have a favorable view of the retailer.

As the above chart makes clear, the last six months have been particularly tough on Kohl’s. And while favorability among Generation Z and the 55+ crowd remained relatively flat, it’s the Millennials that socked it to Kohl’s. 

Among Millennials, favorability has fallen 13% since the beginning of 2019, while the unfavorability index has gone up notably. 

Of all the cohorts, Generation X’s feeling towards Kohl’s has remained most steadfast.

Kohl’s has lost favorability among both men and women over the last year, but the drop in women is more recent and more pronounced.

Looking at data over the last 90 days, Kohl’s favorability is highest among middle-income households.

Interestingly, when it comes to its clothing department, fashionistas go both ways on the brand. Americans who say fashion trends impact their clothing decisions have a more favorable view of Kohl’s than people who say the current trends don’t impact them at all. 

But this cuts both ways, as the fashion trend crowd also has a 55% higher unfavorable view of the retailer.

And while the news hasn’t been great thus far, looking at data over the last six months shows fans of Kohl’s are also bullish on the economy as a whole. 

Lastly – and this may be instructive for the retailer – Americans who say their friends and contacts on social media impact their buying decisions “a lot” have a very favorable view of Kohl’s.

Kohl’s has clearly hit a few rough patches lately, but with fans of the retailer expecting a stronger economy – and with the potential buying power of a maturing Generation X along with a stronger social media presence – the idea of a turnaround is certainly on the table.

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