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Kohl’s Banks On Cafes To Spur Foot Traffic

If you happen to be at a Kohl’s store in the Milwaukee area, you might be able to grab a coffee while you shop.

It was reported this week that the retail chain has begun testing out a cafe concept in two of its locations — Kohl’s department stores in Delafield and Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin — in an attempt to bolster foot traffic and increase revenue. The company’s notion, as put forth by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is to give the value-focused shoppers a reason to stick around at the store, even when they’re not necessarily shopping the chain’s primary items (notably, the cafes include very limited seating, discouraging people from getting so comfortable sipping their macchiatos that they neglect to return to the store at large).

“You want the customer to dwell more,” Jon Grosso, executive vice president and director of stores for Kohl’s, said in a statement, according to MJS. “You want them to spend time in the building.”

Grosso indicated in the MJS story that the chain has no firm plans at present to expand the cafe concept to additional locations but that the potential opportunity is under consideration, based on how the offering fares in the two stores where it’s being tested.

“We want to test and learn and see what we can do in 2016,” Grosso said. “…And then, wherever we expand it, if and when we do, we want to apply those [lessons].”

The tryout cafes are part of what Kohl’s describes as its “Greatness Agenda,” a corporate strategy designed to increase the brand’s slow-moving sales by about $2 billion by 2017, reports MJS. Part of the credit in building the “Greatness Agenda” strategy goes to Kohl’s Chief Merchandising and Customer Officer Michelle Gass, formerly of Starbucks.

Additional elements of the larger strategy already in place, according to MJS, include revamped beauty sections at hundreds of Kohl’s locations, letting customers buy online but pick up in stores, and the chain’s first off-price store that opened in June.

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