A few interesting developments are unfolding this week in the larger retail landscape.
A Major Retailer Heads to BK Court
Toys ‘R’ Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late Monday after vendors reportedly tightened credit terms heading into the holiday season.
Analysts say several factors have negatively impacted the company, including the rise of Amazon and competition from Walmart and Target; the decline of TV viewing by kids, who are watching more content on commercial-free streaming services so are not influenced by traditional advertising; and a heavy debt load from a previous buyout by private equity firms.
Toys ‘R’ Us, which has 1,600 stores globally and $11.5 billion in annual sales, plans to close some stores and make others more experiential, according to the Wall Street Journal.
A Major Retailer Jumps in Bed with Amazon
Kohl’s will begin offering free returns for Amazon customers in 82 of its stores starting in October, Kohl’s announced Tuesday morning.
The jaw-dropping news here is that Kohl’s will pack and ship the returns to Amazon for free regardless of the reason for return. The items don’t even have to be in “shipping ready” form – Kohl’s will handle all the packaging.
Kohl’s is even designating parking spots near the store entrance for Amazon return customers.
Kohl’s will offer this service, which could turn into a traffic driver for the retailer, in 82 stores in Los Angeles and Chicago.
Earlier this month, Kohl’s announced it is adding Amazon “smart home spaces” to 10 stores in the same regions.
The new spaces will offer Amazon devices, accessories and smart home devices such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Fire TV, and Fire tablets. Amazon will staff the space.
Customers can also schedule an appointment to have an Amazon expert come to their homes to evaluate their needs and install smart home products.
In addition, Amazon will promote Amazon Home Services, which offers vetted access to local services providers like plumbers and cleaners.