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Kohl’s Launches Juicy Couture in Effort to Shore up Branded Offering

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Kohl’s Department Stores launched lifestyle brand Juicy Couture this week at its stores nationwide and on its e-commerce site at Kohls.com.

The collection spans numerous categories including misses’ and girls’ 7-16 apparel, jewelry, handbags, accessories, watches, footwear, bedding and fragrances.

Kohl’s chairman, chief executive officer and president, Kevin Mansell, said, “Customers across the country will be excited by the newness they find at Kohl’s this fall.” He added, “Amazing product is a fundamental pillar of our new Greatness Agenda and the proven casual luxury brand Juicy Couture will offer customers a fun, new fashion and home option in addition to Kohl’s existing portfolio of powerful and well-recognized brands.”

In a press release, the company noted that fashion and accessories would retail at “under $100” and bedding and watches would be priced at “$400 or less.”

On the Kohls.com e-commerce site on the weekend of the launch, retail prices for Juicy Couture product ranged from $12 for a pair of fashion earrings to $270 for an animal print comforter set to almost $600 for a stainless steel watch.  Most of the apparel carried a retail price of between $30 and $50, with athleisure looks in stretch terry, velour and denim comprising the bulk of the collection. All products except fragrance were on sale at 25 to 30 percent off.

Juicy Couture is the newest national brand to debut at the department store chain. Started in Los Angeles by Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy in 1995 and known for its signature velour track suits worn by celebrities, the label was sold in Neiman-Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf, Saks, and its own chain of boutiques in its heyday. It counted Madonna, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez among its customers. Juicy Couture was purchased by Authentic Brands Group from Fifth and Pacific (now Kate Spade) in late 2013 for a reported $195 million.

Members of Kohl’s management told Wall Street analysts earlier this year that the company would be offering more national brands in its stores in response to consumer feedback and as a way to stimulate store traffic and sales growth. For the first half of the fiscal year, total sales fell 2 percent to $8.3 billion, and comparable store sales declined 2.3%.

A recent trip to a Kohl’s store in the New York area revealed a bigger spotlight on national brands, with offerings from IZOD, Nike, Fitbit, Chaps, Essie nail polish, Spanx shapewear, Calphalon cookware, Dyson, New Balance and Skechers in prominent positions in their respective departments. Soft home and Misses apparel, however, seems to still be dominated by Kohl’s private and exclusive brands including Sonoma, Apt. 9, Vera Vera Wang, and Croft & Barrow.

Kohl’s is supporting the launch of Juicy Couture with a robust marketing campaign that includes a new partnership with fashion website Refinery29. For the first time, Kohl’s is engaging the influential and popular online lifestyle destination to partner with key trend-setting bloggers and to host celebratory events. There will also be comprehensive print, broadcast and digital advertising and social initiatives.

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