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Kohl’s and Amazon Deepen Partnership by Expanding Returns Program

All Kohl’s stores across the U.S. will now accept Amazon returns, the retailer announced in a statement Tuesday.

The returns program, which began with 82 Kohl’s stores across Chicago and Los Angeles, will now include all of Kohl’s 1,150-plus locations across 48 states.

The expansion of the partnership comes more than a year after the program’s debut. In late 2017, Kohl’s began allowing customers to return their Amazon packages in store. By early 2018, Kohl’s revenue growth in the Chicago region was up 10 percent, compared with 5 percent growth across the rest of the country. The area’s sales, transactions and customer growth outpaced the same metrics nationwide in 2018.

The program also attracted new customers, as Kohl’s had hoped. The number of new customers in the Chicago area grew by 9 percent last year, compared with 1 percent growth for other Kohl’s stores across the U.S.

In a statement, Kohl’s said it will accept “eligible Amazon items, without a box or label, and return them for customers for free.” Kohl’s will take care of the repackaging process, eliminating a step for consumers and adding to the program’s convenience.

“Amazon and Kohl’s have a shared passion in providing outstanding customer service, and this unique partnership combines Kohl’s strong nationwide store footprint and omnichannel capabilities with Amazon’s reach and customer loyalty,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief executive officer. “This new service is another example of how Kohl’s is delivering innovation to drive traffic to our stores and bring more relevance to our customers.”

Driving traffic and maintaining relevance are two firmly-rooted objectives for Kohl’s.

With online shopping waging war on traditional retail, Kohl’s has decided to live by the proverb, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Maintaining a symbiotic relationship with e-commerce monolith Amazon has paid off, and Kohl’s even has plans to start carrying Amazon products in more than 200 stores.

Kohl’s has also expanded its efforts to woo millennial moms, a coveted consumer base for any big-box store chain. The retailer is experimenting with a new in-store merchandising initiative called The Outfit Bar, a curated assortment of head-to-toe looks from multiple brands. The program is designed to help time-starved moms who don’t have the time to peruse clothing racks in the quest for the perfect ensemble, and is due to roll out in 50 stores over the coming weeks.