Kohl’s Now Accepting Amazon Returns

Kohl's to open new locations

It looks like Kohl’s and Amazon are deepening the partnership announced earlier this summer.

Expanding on the partnership that now sees Kohl’s selling Amazon goods on its shelves — including the Echo powered by Amazon Alexa and the Fire tablet line — Kohl’s has now announced it will be accepting Amazon returns at some of its U.S. stores.

According to reports, Kohl’s will then take charge of packing and shipping the items back to an Amazon fulfillment center — free of charge for customers.  The service will get up and running next month when 82 Kohl’s stores across the Los Angeles and Chicago areas will start taking the returns.

Kohl’s hasn’t said when the service will expand to other markets, but this looks to be just the beginning of Amazon using retailers’ real estate to its advantage.

“This is a great example of how Kohl’s and Amazon are leveraging each other’s strengths — the power of Kohl’s store portfolio and omnichannel capabilities combined with the power of Amazon’s reach and loyal customer base,” said Richard Schepp, Kohl’s chief administrative officer.

To make tapping into the program even easier for shoppers, Kohl’s will also be reserving some prime parking spots near store entrances as “designated parking spots” for Amazon customers there for a return.

The market liked the new plan, sending Kohl’s shares up 2.7 percent Tuesday afternoon.

The service announced at Kohl’s is similar to a program recently announced at the now Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market, where shoppers can also return their Amazon purchases to be sent back to an Amazon fulfillment center.

Kohl’s is gaining the gift of foot traffic as consumers come to their stores to make a return — and maybe do some light shopping while they are there.

“The test … is an intelligent way for Kohl’s to: (a) leverage unutilized parts of its store footprint and (b) help improve frequency (and potentially drive sales higher) in its stores,” Gordon Haskett analyst Chuck Grom wrote in a note to clients.

“All told, we like the moves Kohl’s is taking as it continue to think outside the box and forward think on how to evolve in today’s quickly changing backdrop,” Haskett added.

In related retail news, Sears has also recently made a deal with Amazon, aiming to sell more of its appliances — and those with Amazon Alexa capabilities — through the internet giant’s platform.