Hohls Case Study

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Category: Business and Industry

Date Submitted: 11/19/2012 07:37 AM

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Kohl's Department Store: Fastest Growing Retailer in 2007

by Julie A. Zachman , Cathleen Folker


The primary subject matter of this case concerns an overview of the U.S. retail industry and specifically addressing an in-depth view of the Kohl's Department Store strategy. This case is primarily based on secondary source information and is ideal as a leadoff case for business undergraduate students (level 4) to demonstrate their ability to interpret basic strategic planning concepts. The case was written to provide an opportunity for students to 1) apply Porter's Five Force Framework to analyze the impact of the competitive forces on industry attractiveness, 2) prepare a thorough SWOT analysis to assist in developing potential strategic options, and 3) practice evaluating an organization's strategy. The decision focus of the case centers on what strategy can sustain a competitive advantage given the high level of consolidation within the retail industry. The case is designed to be taught in 2 class hours and is expected to require 6 hours of outside preparation by students.


The retail industry is in a state of flux, marked by a high-level of consolidation and new partnerships. The long-term trend of consolidation and intense competition for the mass market has been especially difficult for the traditional department stores as the popularity of the shopping mall declines while big-box discounters and specialty stores become more attractive alternatives. Amidst the recent restructuring arises the need to transform the competitive landscape; executing a well defined corporate strategy will be a key factor in determining which retailers will stay on top.

Making headlines with its aggressive five-year growth strategy, Kohl's Department Store continues to capture the attention of the public and investors alike. After years of retail consolidation, how does Kohl's manage aggressive department store expansion? Will the Classic...