* Exclusives 47 pct of Q1 sales, vs. 42.7 pct in Q4 2009
* Says Aldo designed shoes to be sold as of Spring 2011
* Shares down 1.3 percent in morning trading
NEW YORK, June 16 (Reuters) - Kohl’s Corp (KSS.N) said on Wednesday that exclusive product lines accounted for 47 percent of sales in the first quarter of 2010, which it said was a large increase over a year earlier.
The Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, retailer also said that Aldo Group International will produce an exclusive line of shoes for Kohl’s, the latest such deal by a U.S. department store chain to differentiate itself from rivals and boost profit margins.
In February, Kohl’s Chief Executive Kevin Mansell told Reuters that exclusives could eventually account for half of the retailer’s sales. In the fourth quarter of 2009, they made up 42.7 percent of sales.
The footwear designed by Aldo, a Canadian shoe and handbag maker and retailer, will be available at Kohl’s stores and on its web site exclusivley as of spring 2011 and will include casual and dressier shoes.
Department store chains such as Kohl’s, and its main rivals, J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N) and Macy’s Inc, (M.N) have redoubled their efforts in recent years to sell more products shoppers cannot find elsewhere to take advantage of the high profits those lines offer and to set themselves apart.
For example, beginning this fall, Liz Claiborne Inc’s LIZ.N namesake brand will be exclusive to Penney stores. Current exclusives at Kohl’s include lines by Simply Vera Wang and Candie’s.
Privately held Aldo, which was founded in Montreal in 1972, operates about 700 stores worldwide.
Kohl’s shares were down 68 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $52.98 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Reporting by Phil Wahba, editing by Dave Zimmerman