Dear Kohl's Customers,
First, I want to thank all of you for your loyalty during this time. While there continues to be good news about the reopening of Kohl’s stores, I want to focus on a different topic.
Like so many of you, I am deeply pained and angered by the killings of Black Americans — fueled by a long history of systemic racism that continues to plague our nation today.
Racism has stained our country for far too long, and it has to end. The pain and exhaustion caused by racial injustice is overwhelming. Our own Kohl’s associates, customers and communities are feeling this pain.
These horrific events should serve as a wake-up call for every institution to look within to determine how they can be a catalyst for change.
As a large company — and one that serves millions of families from diverse backgrounds — Kohl’s acknowledges systemic injustices in the country and can commit to actions and behaviors that will make our company, stores and the world a better place.
Two weeks ago, I shared Kohl’s commitment to fostering an even more diverse and inclusive environment for our associates and customers. I also conveyed that hateful or discriminatory behaviors have no place in any environment.
Over the past two years, we’ve had a heightened focus on our diversity and inclusion efforts, which we've shared in our Corporate Social Responsibility Report. While we know there’s a lot more to do, we’re driven by the progress we’ve made. We’ve ramped up our diversity recruiting efforts, expanded our associate Business Resource Groups, which is an important resource in fostering an inclusive culture, and we’ve begun rolling out unconscious bias training to our full company.
But this is not nearly enough. Kohl’s will do more.
I am working closely with my leadership team, our Diversity and Inclusion team, and our Black Professionals Business Resource Group on a thoughtful and sustainable long-term plan to ensure Kohl’s works toward equality for our associates, customers and communities.
In the short-term, we have implemented a few immediate next steps:
- I have created a Task Force, which I'll be leading, in partnership with our Diversity and Inclusion team to better understand what opportunities we have, and to hold ourselves accountable for the long-term;
- We are committed to taking the time needed to really listen and learn, so we’ve launched a series of internal focus group sessions dedicated to diversity and inclusion across the company;
- We kicked off our unconscious bias training in 2019 and will roll this out to the entire company in 2020;
- We’ve made a donation to the NAACP to help overcome racial injustice in the United States;
- We are putting a greater emphasis on giving back to local organizations in our hometown of Milwaukee that work towards equality by empowering historically under-resourced communities and addressing disparities head-on.
This is just the start of the conversation. This is an issue that we, as a collective nation, can’t solve overnight. It will take time, effort and a lot of work by all of us to create meaningful, lasting change. And Kohl’s will be a part of that change.
To all of our Black associates and customers, and to the Black community: Kohl’s stands by you. Please be safe and take care of yourself and your family.
Kohl's Chief Executive Officer