Report: Kohl’s Considers Going Private, Breaking Up Company To Prevent Takeover

Middle-class consumers just aren’t as into department stores as they used to be. Experts speculate that this is because off-price and outlet stores caught on during the recession, and shoppers simply don’t want to go back. Even staying open for 170 hours straight wasn’t enough to drag Kohl’s out of a slump, and the company’s leaders worry that they could be taken over while their stock price is low.

An ever-mysterious “person familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal that the company is discussing its options. One possible solution would be to take the company private, with one investor buying up its shares and relieving leaders of the day-to-day pressure of the price of their publicly-traded stock.

While sales are good at Kohl’s, the company is planning ahead while its stock price is relatively low and its recent growth spurt has slowed.

Other department stores have their own solutions, like Sears renting, selling, or subleasing its stores to anyone who is interested, and Macy’s is closing stores as well as considering forming its own real estate investment trusts.

It would also ward off activist investors, who might swarm in and try to change the chain and its leadership, and suitors for acquisition, who might be tempted to take over.

The company’s CEO wants to change things around, offering more cosmetics, accessories, and shoes for women as well as offering more clothes from national brands instead of all private brands. Would that work? As long as receipts still tell people that they saved hundreds of dollars at the bottom, even if they didn’t necessarily, things should be fine.

Kohl’s Weighs Next Steps, as Woes Mount