Hit the gym, then shop? Kohl's links up with Planet Fitness

A Kohl's store is seen in Paramus NJ. Kohl's said Thursday Feb. 25 its profit climbed as the department store chain controlled inventory levels and enjoyed solid holiday sales during its fiscal fourth quarter Earns Kohls Paramus USA

A Kohl's store is seen in Paramus NJ. Kohl's said Thursday Feb. 25 its profit climbed as the department store chain controlled inventory levels and enjoyed solid holiday sales during its fiscal fourth quarter Earns Kohls Paramus USA

"Also, we like the strategy to lean further into active, especially partnering with Planet Fitness to build gyms next to Kohl's stores".

The Wisconsin-based department store chain has inked a deal with Planet Fitness to lease out extra space in stores as it seeks to shrink its footprint, the company revealed Tuesday.

"It will be more in a self-serve environment, which is how our customers are used to shopping us", said Kohl's CEO Michelle Gass.

Kohl's hopes that customers will head to Planet Fitness for a workout and visit Kohl's next door to buy new jeans or a top. The retailer has been aggressive including new athletic put on to its lineup, together with merchandise from Below Armour and Fitbit.

"We see the Planet Fitness partnership as a real win-win", Gass told analysts on an earnings call Tuesday. Mall landlords have also been increasingly looking to the fitness industry to fill vacant space: According to data from commercial real estate research firm CoStar, the amount of space leased by fitness centers and gyms in malls and lifestyle centers increased about 70 percent between 2013 and 2018. Kohl's says it saves money by carrying less inventory and employing fewer workers.

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Kohl's CEO says this is just the latest effort to court customers. Small is the brand new huge in retail. But don't expect others to follow Kohl's: Target's CEO nixed the idea of gyms in stores when a reporter asked about the Kohl's and Planet Fitness deal at a NY event.

Kohl's has been partnering with more businesses to future-proof its business in other ways as well.

Planet Fitness opened 230 stores in 2018 - the most to date annually - and has over 1,700 stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Mexico. Last month, the company partnered with WW, formerly Weight Watchers, and past year, the company teamed up with supermarket chain Aldi.

For Planet Fitness, teaming up with Kohl's will help it gain exposure. Comparable sales increased by 1.7 percent for the year.

Geekwire reports that Amazon is closing "87 pop-up retail stores in malls, Whole Foods locations and Kohl's stores across 21 USA states, a sign that the tech giant is still refining its physical retail vision".

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