Kohl's ($KSS) is set to announce earnings before the open on Tuesday May 21, and analysts predict a flat sales comparison year-over-year. This call comes less than two months away from one of Kohl's biggest deals yet: fielding Amazon ($AMZN) returns from any customer, paying or non-paying, that walks into any of its stores.
With the company hoping to exceed analyst expectations and on the heels of this partnership, it is listing more job openings on its official careers page since the new year.
This trend is led by the "Stores" category of jobs — hourly and salaried workers who are on the ground at more than 1,100 stores — which had 4x growth since January 2019.
Considering typical retail trends, this steady hiring increase is a bit unusual. Retail outlets usually have an overflow of holiday hires that are sometimes converted to full-time or regular hourly staff. Yet Kohl's is hiring Assistant Managers, Loss Prevention workers by the dozens, and Retail Sales Associates by the hundreds.
There also isn't a specific region being targeted with these hires. With Kohl's Amazon deal applying to all of its stores, there isn't a single one that has more than 10 openings at a time.
While Kohl's isn't necessarily becoming an Amazon fulfillment center: the partnership coincides with a massive increase in overall job openings that's led disproportionately by stockroom staff listings. Those hires, in theory, would be a vital part in taking in Amazon returns at stores, especially as these items don't have to be repackaged for shipping.
Amazon already made its Whole Foods locations around the country places where people can drop off Amazon returns. And, obviously, people can just repackage whatever they want to return and either go to the local post office or give it to their local mailperson. But this extension of the existing Kohl's partnership — Amazon has been selling its Echo and other products in Kohl's stores since 2017 — gives the e-commerce giant another brick-and-mortar presence without having to drop billions in construction, real estate, and management.
To that end, consider the below map to not just be where all Kohl's stores are located, but also 1,100 plus Amazon return centers:
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