Kohl’s blames marketing efforts for dismal sales

The retailer reported a massive sales slump and said its turning away from digital campaigns to try to get people shopping in its stores. 

Kohl’s is the latest retailer to find itself facing tough times.

In its latest earnings report, the retail chain that boasts 1,167 stores reported a massive earning drop of 87 percent.

Kohls also missed its sales targets and saw a 3.7 percent drop in year-over-year sales. Its stock price has declined 53 percent in the past year.

The culprit? Though online-only competitors are cutting into the retailer’s sales, the company blamed its marketing efforts.

“There are definitely some company-specific issues from a marketing perspective that we’re working on rectifying, so we know that affected our first quarter,” said Wesley McDonald, Kohl’s chief financial officer, on a recent conference call.

RELATED: Learn best practices to create powerful integrated marketing campaigns.

Bloomberg reported that Kohl’s chief exec, Kevin Mansell, said the company will evaluate all of its marketing efforts:

[I]t was definitely a difficult start to 2016. It’s hard to gauge how much of the sales shortfall is related to macroeconomic factors and how much is related to company-specific factors. We definitely focused on improving our sales, but especially our traffic to brick-and-mortar stores. We are relooking at all of our marketing vehicles to see where we can drive more business to the stores as well as ensuring our value message is particularly strong. Definitely not satisfied with the results so far and we’ll take action to remain top of mind with the families that we serve.

Advertising Age pointed out that the company spent a significant amount of money sponsoring the Academy Awards for the first time this year—and the awards show saw an eight-year low in viewership.

The chain plans to close 18 underperforming stores and plans to try targeted promotions and offering more localized merchandise.

Though there is no silver bullet for struggling retailers, marketers should pay attention to what works and what doesn’t as companies including Kohl’s look to hit the promotional sweet spot.

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