With Christmas In Sight, Kohl's Takes Off The Gloves

Kohls While no one knows yet whether fourth-quarter sales will be as bad as many retailing experts are predicting, Kohl's isn't taking any chances. The Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based chain has launched an extensive ad campaign, positioning itself as a one-stop shopping destination with low, low prices.

The company says its stepped-up marketing program includes "frequent sales events, aggressive discounts on popular merchandise earlier in the season and an easy online shopping experience," the company says in its release--promising that shoppers "will be delighted by the unbelievable prices we're extending earlier and longer throughout the season."

The company says it has increased the marketing budget for its national holiday campaign--which includes broadcast, print advertising, digital media, charge card promotions, direct mail, e-mail outreach and public relations, as well as an extensive Hispanic marketing program.



TV spots, which the company says will take advantage of the three weekends leading up to Thanksgiving, showcase the store's private brands--with the first spot breaking next week, airing simultaneously across all network stations. Ads are also running on cable, including the Food Network, HGTV, Lifetime and E! Kohl's will also begin airing an ad promoting the brand in Spanish.

In print, it says it has doubled the savings offers from last year's levels. It will also offer special "Power Hours"--which typically begin Thanksgiving weekend--much earlier, starting Nov. 7. And online, it says it will continue to increase its investment in digital advertising--taking over the eight pages of popular online sites including AOL, MSN and Yahoo.

While Kohl's may be one of the most aggressive retailers in pushing price so early in the season (not to mention pushing the season so early in the season) it's not alone. JCPenney is already hawking doorbuster specials on its Web site, opening stores early this weekend.

In a recent poll of CMOs at the largest retailers, BDO Seidman found that 88% expect an increase in discounts and promotions this holiday season--up from 73% last year. And 39% of the CMOs expect comparable store sales to decrease this holiday season, compared to 5% last year, while 41% sales to be flat. Only 20% expect any sales gain, compared with 41% last year.

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