Greer's Kohl's represents company's new focus

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Sunday, March 18, 2012

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Langston & Black puts out the welcome sign for Kohl's and Walmart as the Wade Hampton corridor becomes one of the hottest markets in the upstate.

Langston & Black puts out the welcome sign for Kohl's and Walmart as the Wade Hampton corridor becomes one of the hottest markets in the upstate.



Enlarge photo

Tractor Supply's old facade has been taken down and is within a month of having its new one showcasing the company located next to Kohl's. The parking lot in front of Tractor Supply is scheduled to be completed in April.

Tractor Supply's old facade has been taken down and is within a month of having its new one showcasing the company located next to Kohl's. The parking lot in front of Tractor Supply is scheduled to be completed in April.



The Kohl's department store in Greer will feature the retail chain's focus on its 60,000-square foot format that has proved to be more profitable since its launch 10 years ago.

Kohl's (NYSE: KSS) will up fit the former Kmart store at Piedmont Plaza at 1326 W. Wade Hampton Blvd. Kmart's square footage is 66,233-square-feet and fits squarely in Kohl's format. The Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based company launched the smaller stores in 2012 in smaller communities. The smaller stores returned better financial reports than the chain's 90,000-square-foot prototype, thus the national shift.

The small format will be featured in 30 of the 40 new stores Kohl's plans to open this year. At least 75 percent of the stores opening in 2013 will be small. The largest stores, if they do open, will be in high-density urban areas.

The Easley Kohl's is similar to the one that will open in Greer. It opened last September as the 14th Kohl's in South Carolina. It also hired 130 employees, many of them part-time.

Kohl's is responding to the shift in shoppers visiting the Internet. Consumer Reports ranked Kohl's No. 2 in customer satisfaction at its physical locations and online. Internet sales increased 47 percent to $187 million, according to Wesley McDonald, CFO for Kohl's. McDonald told analysts Kohl's is projected for another 40 percent gain in online sales this year, which will exceed $1 billion.

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) is also introducing smaller stores. That point was emphasized earlier this year when GreerToday.com (Jan. 22) reported the retail giant is opening a Walmart Neighborhood Market at the former Winn-Dixie store on Wade Hampton Blvd. Greer becomes the first city in South Carolina to host that niche store.

The Walmart Neighborhood Market is expected to bring 90 employees when it opens.

The shift to smaller stores by Kohl's and Walmart signal a wider opportunity to acquire former grocery stores in the 50,000-60,000 square foot range that have been shuttered.

Harper Corporation General Contractors is redesigning the shopping center's parking lot with tree-lined, landscaped islands and new lights. The lot has a potential of 500 parking spaces.

Tractor Supply Company has removed trees and is preparing its site to extend its store to the side. The outdoor and garden supplies will be moved from the front to the side.

Kohl’s was No. 142 on the Fortune 500 list last May. The company has 1,100 stores and 130,000 employees.

The City of Greer approved Kohl's request last year for an accelerated demolition of Kmart that cost twice the original $5,000 fee. It was approved and the interior prepared for the upfit.

Blueprints for Kohl’s at Piedmont Plaza have also been filed. “The hard part is done,” Phil Rhoads, Director, Building & Development Standards, said. “They’re not starting from ground zero."

Businesses mentioned in this article.

Greer Development Corporation, Kohl's, Walmart

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