On the heels of last month’s news that Kohl’s will expand its product relationship with Amazon by carrying the latter’s tech products in more than 200 stores, the Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based department store chain will begin accepting returns from the Seattle-based e-tailer nationwide beginning in July.
The move to expand its relationship with Amazon customers to return eligible Amazon.com merchandise to their local Kohl’s store underlines the brick-and-mortar retailer’s ongoing ambition to leverage underused real estate in some of its stores via leasing or selling space to partner companies. That also includes Aldi, which is eyeing five to 10 partner sites with Kohl’s. “We see the right-sizing strategy as a large opportunity for Kohl’s with tremendous runway,” said Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass during the company’s recent Q4 2019 earnings call in March.
Kohl’s and Amazon teamed up in 2017 to pilot the returns program, which is currently operating in 100 stores in the Los Angeles, Chicago and Milwaukee markets. Kohl’s and Amazon will roll out the expanded returns program to all of Kohl’s more than 1,150 locations in 48 states.
The expanded deal also accompanied Kohl's issuing a warrant to an affiliate of Amazon to buy up to 1.7 million shares of its stock.
Kohl’s said it will accept eligible Amazon items, without a box or label, and return them for customers for free, regardless of the reason. It also will package and ship the returned items to Amazon on behalf of customers.
In a statement, Gass said, “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. 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.”