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Kohl’s CEO is out to steal customers from its struggling rivals

Kohl's CEO Kevin Mansell told CNBC on Tuesday the retailer plans to aggressively steal traffic from struggling competitors.

"Department stores are not all equal," Mansell said on "Squawk on the Street," as he explained that its fleet of stores is its greatest strength.

The comment comes as many rival department stores shutter locations and Amazon continues to grow and divert sales from brick-and-mortar stores to online. But Kohl's isn't following suit. The department store has 500 more locations than Macy's and it's leaning into those 1,200 stores.

"We are not a mall store, we are an off-mall store. So, 95 percent of our stores are not in traditional malls," Mansell said. "As we move to an omnichannel world — and we're there — we are looking to be one of the best-in-class omnichannel retailers."

Beginning with the back-to-school shopping season, Kohl's is hoping to pick up customers who used to shop at stores that have closed.

"Our objective is to get more than our fair share," he said. "We're pretty optimistic on that."

Kohl's hasn't been forced to close many of its own stores since most are "not stressed from a cash perspective," Mansell said.

He also touted the company's balance sheet, which has given it the flexibility to act on new initiatives and invest in technology. Over the last three years, Kohl's has invested $2 billion in technology and $1 billion in its stores.

"Most of our competitors have not been able to do that because they're cash constrained, they have a weaker balance sheet, heavy debt load, often," he said.

Still, the department store's share price has been trading in a relatively narrow range in 2017, but only after dropping around 19 percent in...


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