What's In Store

Kohl's bucks the retail trend with a new Charlotte store

Kohl's is planning to open a store in the former Gander Mountain space in the Rivergate development in Steele Creek, permits filed this week show.
Kohl's is planning to open a store in the former Gander Mountain space in the Rivergate development in Steele Creek, permits filed this week show. Observer file

It looks like Kohl's is taking the place of the Gander Mountain store that closed last year in Steele Creek.

Recently filed building permits indicate that renovation is underway at the roughly 45,000-square-foot space at 13610 Hoover Creek Blvd., near the Michaels store in the Rivergate development. An "opening soon" sign hangs on the store's facade, although an opening date wasn't immediately available. A Kohl's spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

When big-box retailers like Gander Mountain close storefronts, it can be a headache for landlords who are left with large spaces to fill. In the Charlotte area, developers are getting creative with how they fill the room. A movie theater called Studio Movie Grill will take an old Bi-Lo space in Prosperity Village in north Charlotte, for instance.

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In opening a new Charlotte location, Kohl's is bucking a trend experienced by department stores nationwide: As more customers opt to shop online, store traffic is declining, and companies are being forced to close under-performing stores. That's the case with Sears, J.C. Penney and Macy's, which have all closed stores in the Charlotte area in recent years.

It's also the case with retailers that have had to declare bankruptcy. That includes Hhgregg, which closed 88 stores nationwide last year, including six in the Charlotte area, as well as Gander Mountain, which closed 32 stores nationwide last year.

Kohl's has been somewhat of a bright spot in the retail industry recently, though. The Wisconsin-based chain last month reported first-quarter sales and profit that exceeded Wall Street expectations, thanks in part to an effort to stock stores more efficiently.

Recent efforts also indicate Kohl's is looking for fresh ways to entice shoppers to its stores. Last year, for instance, Kohl's began a partnership with Amazon to sell its smart home products and accept its returns in its stores, according to news reports.

Kohl's operates nine other stores in the Charlotte area.

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Kohl's is opening a new store in the former Gander Mountain location in the Rivergate development in Steele Creek Courtesy of William Byrne

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