Kohl's, Belk reopening stores
May 08, 2020 10:34AM
By David Dykes
Two more retailers have taken steps to reopen stores as businesses slowly take the brakes off closings that have idled workers, frustrated consumers and crippled local economies.
Kohl's (NYSE: KSS) said it plans to reopen stores in 10 states on Monday, May 11, after opening stores in four states, including South Carolina, earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Belk said it will continue to open stores across its 16-state footprint following temporary closures due to Covid-19.
Following local guidelines and health information, Kohl's said it will open additional stores in the coming weeks, taking a deliberate, measured approach.
The company said it has taken significant steps to the store environment and operations to prioritize the health and safety of Kohl’s customers and employees. Those include limited store hours, social distancing measures, and numerous cleaning and sanitization measures, as well as wellness and temperature checks, safety training and the use of masks and gloves for employees, company officials said.
“We are pleased to begin welcoming our customers back to Kohl’s,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief executive officer. “We are taking an informed, measured approach based on a number of factors to reopen our stores on a phased timeline, with about twenty-five percent of our stores open by next week. As we reopen and operate in a new environment, I want to thank our associates and customers for their ongoing loyalty and support. We're thrilled to have you back. ”
Beginning Monday, May 11, Kohl’s will welcome customers and employees back to all stores in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, and Texas, as well as the majority of its stores in Florida and Tennessee.
On Monday, May 4, Kohl’s reopened stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah. The company said it will continue to take an informed approach concerning where and how to reopen stores by assessing several factors, including the guidance of government officials, health data, store readiness, and consumer sentiment.
The company said it is working closely with other retailers and the Retail Industry Leaders Association and National Retail Federation to champion uniform operations and allow for safe reopenings.
Kohl's said its customers can expect to see the following changes at Kohl's stores to support ongoing health and safety precautionary measures:
- Kohl’s has reduced operating hours and will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until further notice.
- Kohl’s is offering dedicated shopping hours for at-risk individuals including seniors, those who are pregnant or have underlying health conditions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
- Signage and floor decals have been placed throughout the store to encourage six feet of social distancing, with a particular focus on high traffic areas including at customer service and checkout.
- For stores with two or more entrances, one entrance has been closed and each store will operate with a single point of entry to the store.
- An employee greeter will be at the front of the store with the sole role of welcoming customers, sanitizing carts between each use and limiting occupancy, as appropriate.
- In-aisle fixtures has been removed to increase space for customers to pass through the aisles while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
- Kohl’s has installed protective barriers at all registers and will offer touchless payment through Kohl’s Pay on the Kohl’s App.
- Checkout lanes will be cleaned by an employee after each customer transaction, including the sanitation of the pin pad and counter.
- Hand sanitizer will be readily available at each register and throughout the store for customer use.
- Fitting rooms will be closed until further notice and the use of beauty testers has been suspended to reduce and minimize touch points.
- Kohl’s has made adjustments to the returns process to minimize contact between the customer and employee. In addition, to support social distancing, Kohl’s will accept Amazon Returns in a separate location within the store.
- Kohl’s will continue regular cleaning of its stores, including all restrooms, entrances and all customer touchpoints, during all operating hours by a third-party cleaning service.
Kohl’s also said it will continue to offer limited-contact drive up service at most stores for online purchases, pick up in store and ship-to-store orders.
Customers can drive up and park in designated parking spots at their local Kohl’s and an employee will place their Kohls.com order directly in their trunk or backseat, company officials said.
The officials also said:
- All Kohl’s employees will participate in mandatory wellness and temperature checks before their shifts. Any employee who has a temperature or exhibits other common Covid-19 symptoms will be asked to return home and seek medical attention.
- All Kohl’s employees will wear masks and gloves while in the store.
- All employees will undergo health and safety training on new policies and procedures before returning to work.
- Kohl’s has reduced the number of employees in the store at one time and is adjusting employee placement as necessary to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
- Kohl’s has physically rearranged breakrooms, training rooms and offices to ensure proper social distancing.
- Kohl’s has set up several employee sanitation stations to provide access to hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies, and continues to encourage healthy behaviors in accordance with CDC guidelines, such as thorough hand washing, regular usage of hand sanitizer and cleaning measures for surfaces.
Kohl’s said it will continue to assess store reopenings and health and safety measures on an ongoing basis.
To determine if stores are open in your area, go to the store locator on Kohls.com.
In the meantime, Belk officials said that on May 8, stores in Florida, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi would begin welcoming back customers and employees. North Carolina stores will officially open May 11.
Belk reopened its doors in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas and Oklahoma last week.
While Belk will be open for business, company officials said the shopping experience won't look the same.
Belk said it is implementing recommended safety procedures from the CDC and state and local health authorities. Stores will limit the number of people shopping inside at one time to ensure social distancing standards are observed and fitting rooms will remain closed, company officials said.
In addition, all stores will have reduced operating hours from 12-6 p.m.
"We're so excited to continue reopening stores as states ease restrictions," said Lisa Harper, CEO of Belk. "As we reopen our doors, the health and safety of our customers and associates remains a top priority and we're implementing recommended precautions to help provide a safe shopping environment. We look forward to returning to business and serving our customers in stores, online and with curbside contactless pick-up."
In addition to reopening stores, Belk said it launched curbside pickup at most locations, including all stores that will be open in May to offer an additional limited-contact shopping option.
Customers who place orders on Belk.com or on the mobile app can pick up their orders Monday-Sunday between 12-5 p.m., company officials said. The service is free and available for same-day pickup within two hours on orders placed by 1 p.m., the officials said.
For a complete list of open stores, store hours and curbside pickup locations, go to belk.com.