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Kohl’s Is Going Hard on Denim

Kohl’s is beefing up its denim chops after long looking to activewear as its defining draw.

Just days after saying it’s now the exclusive seller of Levi’s SilverTab line, the retailer on Friday announced a new arrangement with Buffalo David Bitton, the French-founded, Montreal-based denim brand owned by Iconix International. The two labels will be featured in a back-to-school “denim destination” floor set in 600-plus Kohl’s stores, positioned next to the Sephora shop-in-shops that have proven effective in attracting footfall.

Kohl’s interim chief merchandising officer Ron Murray described Buffalo David Bitton as the “perfect addition to our denim lineup this fall as we look to provide more offerings that support our customer’s evolving casual lifestyle.”

“The brand’s focus on creating craftsmanship-quality denim with unprecedented style is the perfect complement to our existing and new denim brands,” Murray added. “We know our customers will love Buffalo Jeans’ assortment of premium denim in today’s latest styles, and will naturally become wardrobe staples this fall and winter.”

The new Buffalo David Bitton denim assortment at Kohl’s, available online and in store through January, includes straight and slim-leg styles for men, and mom jeans as well as wide-leg and bootcut silhouettes for women. Rounding out the offering are women’s shackets and men’s tops.

Brent Unger, executive vice president of licensing partner Centric Brands, said the Kohl’s tie-up will expose Buffalo David Bitton to “millions more customers across the country.”

“At a time when men and women are looking to fill their closets with fewer, but more quality wardrobe staples, Buffalo Jeans provides the perfect pair of denim with premium fabric, fits and washes that can be dressed up or down depending on the day,” Unger added. “It’s the type of clothing item people will wear weekly and we’re excited that more Kohl’s customers will have the opportunity to experience the difference of Buffalo Jeans.”

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Buffalo David Bitton
Buffalo David Bitton Courtesy

Jeans have enjoyed the spotlight this year as consumers rediscover the closet staple and experiment with new fits and washes suited for their revitalized social schedules. Though America imported more than $2 billion worth of denim through the end of June, however, that hot streak could cool off if inflation stays stubbornly high. Still, many shoppers will be looking for styles beyond the skinnies filling their wardrobes and need new places to stock up on school-ready looks.

Denim has been performing well at Kohl’s, despite the chain’s underwhelming first-quarter report. CEO Michelle Gass said denim sales during the three-month period outperformed broader company trends, adding that merchandising changes to categories such as denim and dresses “are working.”

And for Buffalo David Bitton, the Kohl’s win expands a wholesale footprint that includes Macy’s, Belk, Dillards, Hudson’s Bay and Marks, in addition to selling through its own dot-com in the U.S. and Canada. The denim-cum-lifestyle label commemorated its 50th anniversary by working with “van life influencers” spreading awareness of America’s national parks and promoting wildlife preservation.