Kohl’s Amazon Accord Won’t Lead to Takeover, Incoming CEO Says

Kohls' Gass on Amazon, Holiday Season, Becoming CEO

Kohl’s Corp. will begin offering Amazon.com Inc. products in its stores this month, part of an increasingly cozy relationship between the retailer and the e-commerce giant.

The partnership has spurred speculation that Amazon might make a bid for the brick-and-mortar chain -- just as it acquired Whole Foods earlier this year in a $13.7 billion deal.

Don’t bank on it, said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s incoming chief executive officer. When asked if Amazon might acquire the chain, she replied: “I don’t think so, no.”

Instead, Kohl’s aims to use the partnership to capitalize on the growth of smart-home devices, such as Amazon’s Echo, she said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. As part of the tie-up, the retailer will sell Amazon technology in a portion of 10 stores in Los Angeles and Chicago.

“This is a category that’s growing like crazy,” said Gass, who will take the helm from current CEO Kevin Mansell in May. “Upwards of a third of homes today have some version of the connected home and that’s expected to double by 2021.”

Kohl’s also is accepting returns from Amazon customers at 82 locations. That deal is meant to draw more shoppers to stores, with the hope that they might buy something while they’re there.

“We think it’s a great opportunity to drive traffic,” Gass said.

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