One of the most popular clothing retailers is Kohl’s.
With tons of different private labels and regular changes for each of the seasons, there’s a lot of reasons to shop at Kohl’s.
However, despite its popularity, many have come to find that the prices at Kohl’s are quite high.
The average price of a shirt, for example, ranges from $20 to $60.
As expensive as their products are, you may wonder why the clothes and other products at Kohl’s are more expensive than their competitor’s.
Here are 10 reasons Kohl’s is so expensive.
Why Is Kohl’s So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. High-Quality Fashion
The fashion industry, and thus the retail industry, is extremely competitive.
While everyone needs clothes, not everyone needs expensive clothes.
That means retailers have to come up with reasons for people to buy more expensive clothes.
Kohl’s does this by advertising its clothes in a few certain ways.
One method is by demonstrating that its clothes are high-quality.
In particular, it uses high-quality cotton to make its clothes.
It has factories throughout Central America that take high-quality cotton and make the clothes according to the style and design of the private label.
Cotton is often superior to other types of fabrics because it’s comfortable and long-lasting.
While low-quality cotton does have its problems, Kohl’s steers clear of these problems by sourcing high-quality raw materials.
The higher price that its shoppers see on their products is because it invests in high-quality cotton.
Since better cotton costs more to use, Kohl’s has to make up the difference by charging more in its stores.
Kohl’s relies on its loyal customer base to prefer better cotton clothes at a steeper price over low-quality clothes that aren’t as comfortable and don’t last as long.
2. Better Materials
During an investigation of Kohl’s pricing model, a CBS producer discovered that Kohl’s was raising its prices higher before putting items on sale.
For example, an item that was originally bought for $40 received a markup to $80.
The store would then put the item on sale at the $80 mark.
This meant that with a typical sale, a customer may think they’re getting a great steal, but in reality, the item was cheaper to begin with.
This practice is illegal in California which bans stores from deliberately marking their prices up higher and then falsely putting them on sale.
Kohl’s was quick to state that it doesn’t do this.
Instead, it states that the marked-up prices are a result of using better materials.
Whether that’s better cotton, leather, velvet, or other materials, when it switches to a higher-quality material, it then goes through the store and marks up the prices accordingly.
Using better materials means it costs more to produce the item.
As a result, Kohl’s has to mark up its products to cover the new cost of production.
Kohl’s is expensive because it marks up its products whenever it switches to using materials that are higher in quality.
3. Customer Satisfaction
Kohl’s puts a lot of effort into providing a positive experience for its customers.
The stores train their cashiers and staff to be ready to help customers at any moment and to do so politely.
Kohl’s employees also have a reputation for looking presentable.
That’s because Kohl’s keeps a close eye on its competitors.
In most cases, Kohl’s considers TJ Maxx to be its main competitor.
As such, it tries to improve on what TJ Maxx fails at.
That’s usually the experience that the customers have with the cashiers at Kohl’s or the experience at the store as a whole.
To ensure Kohl’s can provide high-quality customer service, the company invests a lot of money into keeping its stores clean, its cashiers happy, and making it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for.
According to a Retail and Consumer Shipping Report for the 2020–2021 year conducted by the American Satisfaction Index, Kohl’s edged ahead of TJ Maxx when it came to customer satisfaction in a department store as a whole.
Because Kohl’s invests in itself, it’s able to keep customers happy.
However, such investment often comes with costs.
Paying the employees a wage that makes them happy and eager to help customers is a part of that.
The retailer also invests in various technologies and equipment to make the layout of its stores easy to navigate.
All of these investments cost the company money.
To make good on this investment, the store must increase the prices of its products.
Kohl’s is expensive because it invests in itself to provide the best customer experience that it can.
4. Employee Pay
Another reason you’ll see a higher price tag on Kohl’s products is the cost of doing business.
To better support its employees, most Kohl’s stores pay their employees $13 to $15 an hour.
That’s a substantial increase over most retail workers who still earn a bare wage of $9 an hour.
However, this also means that Kohl’s has to spend more of its profit on paying its employees.
Although there are methods to do this without raising the prices of products, Kohl’s has decided to make its customers pay the difference.
You may notice a slight increase in clothes and other products if the retailer continues to raise the pay of its employees to ensure they can live a financially successful life.
Like many other retailers, Kohl’s has an online store which ships products to people’s homes.
Many consider Kohl’s shipping prices to be expensive, especially when they compare them to Amazon’s free shipping policies with a Prime membership.
However, there’s a reason that Kohl’s doesn’t put free shipping on every single item.
It costs the business a good amount of money to ship a product to a home.
The order goes to the warehouse, for which Kohl’s has to pay rental fees to maintain and keep.
Then warehouse workers have to package the order before putting it out on a truck.
In some cases, there may not be a truck headed in the direction of the order.
If that’s the case, then the store will have to spend more money to redirect a truck that extra distance which costs fuel and time for the driver.
While Kohl’s doesn’t offer free shipping on every single item, it does offer free shipping on orders above $75.
This helps the company to earn enough money on the sale to cover the cost of shipping.
If an individual bought a shirt for $15, for example, then that might not be enough to cover the full cost of shipping the product out to the person.
More expensive orders do.
The shipping fees may make Kohl’s more expensive, but that’s because it costs the company money to ship products to home addresses.
6. Business Taxes
Like any other large corporation, Kohl’s has to pay a significant amount of taxes every year.
In 2020, Kohl’s had to pay $210 million in taxes.
Like any respectable and stable business, the retailer set aside a portion of its profit to pay taxes.
During certain times, Kohl’s may find themselves needing a bit of extra cash to pay taxes.
If it looks as though it’s falling behind in its quarterly estimation of its taxes, then the company might raise the price of certain products for a limited time.
This helps stores earn a bit more to cover those tax expenses.
Kohl’s is expensive because it needs to generate enough of a profit to pay its corporate taxes.
There’s no question that inflation also affects the price of Kohl’s products.
Inflation describes a situation in which there’s a lot of money in the market, but wages aren’t high enough to offset it.
As a result, products end up costing more, but not everyone can afford the higher prices.
Inflation occurs naturally and unnaturally.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the years following the onset of the pandemic will be rife with both natural and unnatural inflation.
The problem with inflation is that it can last for years.
To keep up with the increased costs of production, since it costs more for Kohl’s to buy materials as well, the store has to increase its prices.
Kohl’s is expensive because of inflation.
Besides inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic also impacted Kohl’s sales.
While everyone was at home and unable to shop in large numbers, Kohl’s missed out on some money.
Although it managed to survive the pandemic, its profits did take a hit.
Because of that, the company had to take on some debt to keep the lights on in its stores.
To cover that debt and ensure the retailer could survive if something like that happens again, it raised its prices.
The increased pricing on its products allows Kohl’s to pay off the debt and store some away for another rainy day.
Kohl’s is expensive because it is recovering from the pandemic.
9. Exclusive Clothing Brands
Kohl’s is also expensive because of its list of exclusive fashion designers and brands.
To help it stand out from its competitors, Kohl’s has partnered with a few big-name fashion designers.
One such legend is Vera Wang.
Another household name is Jennifer Lopez.
Both designers brought their various fashion products to the retailer and sell them exclusively at its stores.
That means shoppers can only find these products at a Kohl’s store.
Not only does this help bring customers to Kohl’s, but it also means limited access to the clothing.
Fashion-oriented people appreciate when something is exclusive because it means fewer people are going to be wearing it.
That exclusivity, however, comes with a higher price.
Designers still need to earn money.
Since they’re not mass-producing their clothes, then they need to sell their clothes at higher prices.
That’s one reason Kohl’s is more expensive.
The other is that Kohl’s needed to offer these designers enough money to agree to sell only through its stores.
It’s always a risk going exclusive as a fashion designer.
There’s a chance that your clothes won’t sell as well there as they might in another store.
For example, the type of following the designer has may not be a customer base of that particular store.
To convince a designer to take the risk, stores will offer a financial incentive.
Kohl’s has collected quite a few exclusive designers.
As such, it has spent a lot of money acquiring them.
To make up for these investments, the prices of those items are higher.
Kohl’s is expensive because it has exclusive and beloved fashion designers making clothes for its stores.
Finally, Kohl’s is expensive because of its furniture.
While Kohl’s started as an apparel shop, it branched out into other departments like home and kitchen.
Kohl’s has a small selection of furniture for sale in its stores.
The problem with its furniture is that it is extremely expensive.
There are a few reasons this is the case.
First, Kohl’s partners with special builders and designers who add their names to the piece.
That automatically increases the price.
Another reason is that the furniture tends to be made with high-quality materials and is of good quality.
A better product costs more to make.
Finally, the shipping cost associated with the furniture is often very high.
Not all the retailer’s furniture costs $75, so you don’t always get free shipping.
Kohl’s is also specific about what types of furniture qualify for free shipping even if you do spend more than $75.
That’s because the furniture is large and heavy.
It costs more to ship and deliver it than it does small kitchen appliances or clothing.
To cover the cost, Kohl’s either makes the price higher on the furniture or increases the shipping price.
Kohl’s is expensive because its furniture is unique to its stores.
How To Save Money At Kohl’s
While Kohl’s has a reputation for having expensive prices, there are a few ways you can save money.
Here are some tips to save money at Kohl’s.
1. Sign Up For Rewards
One of the best ways to save money at Kohl’s is to sign up for its Rewards program.
It’s ideal for those who love to shop at Kohl’s.
Any time you buy something at a Kohl’s store, you can earn reward points.
Those points can then go towards special discounts that only a rewards member can use.
It’s a no-brainer for someone who shops at the store often.
2. Discounts And Sales
Another great way to save money at Kohl’s is to check into sales and discounts.
While Kohl’s has a reputation for expensive prices, it also has a reputation for having great sales.
You can always find something on clearance.
The retailer also runs regular sale campaigns throughout the year.
If you have an eye on a particular outfit or product, then it’s worth waiting to see if it goes on sale.
At the very least, if you wait long enough, the next season’s fashions will replace it and send your outfit to the clearance section.
3. Check Other Stores
Kohl’s doesn’t want you to shop elsewhere, but if you really want to save money, then you might want to consider shopping at its rival, TJ Maxx.
TJ Maxx differs from Kohl’s by keeping its prices low all the time.
It doesn’t tend to run sales or discounts.
Instead, it offers a low price from the start.
You can often find the same clothes at TJ Maxx that you would at Kohl’s for a significantly lower price.
If you want to go even cheaper, then you should check secondhand stores.
These stores take returns or old clothes from customers who no longer need them or want them.
You can find some great clothes that originally came from Kohl’s for a substantial discount.
4. Earn Kohl’s Cash
Another way to save money at Kohl’s is to take advantage of the Kohl’s Cash campaigns.
The stores usually run a few campaigns every month.
During such a campaign, if you make a purchase on a qualifying item, you can earn a certain amount of Kohl’s Cash.
You can then use that Kohl’s Cash to buy discounted items or new items for a discount.
It’s similar to a rewards card but a bit more exclusive.
One way to make the most of Kohl’s Cash is to wait to do your shopping until a campaign is running.
That way, you can get the items you want while earning in-store currency for more savings down the line.
Kohl’s tends to have higher prices than its competitors because of its exclusive fashion designer clothing lines and other private labels.
The company also focuses on quality and invests in high-quality materials and its employees to provide excellent customer service and experiences.
While it’s easy to spend a lot of money at Kohl’s, there are a few ways you can save money at the store.
Follow the tips above to make the most of your shopping experience.