Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kohl's Will Open Store in Orlando Area, Paper Reports; Many in the Retail Industry Expect the Chain to Target Jacksonville and Tampa

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kohl's Will Open Store in Orlando Area, Paper Reports; Many in the Retail Industry Expect the Chain to Target Jacksonville and Tampa

Article excerpt

Byline: GREGORY RICHARDS, The Times-Union

In a move long anticipated, Kohl's Department Stores has made plans to develop its first Florida store.

The inaugural Sunshine State location of the moderately priced department store will be along U.S. 27 in Clermont, west of Orlando. The 90,000-square-foot building will be constructed by The Sembler Co. of St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported Friday. It would open in early 2005.

Many in the retail industry expect the Wisconsin-based department store chain to also target Jacksonville and Tampa as it seeks to tap the fast-growing Florida market.

Sembler officials could not be reached Monday, and a Kohl's spokeswoman would not comment on the matter.

"When we come [to Florida] a big announcement will be made, but we've not made any regarding Florida at this time," said Kohl's spokeswoman Tawn Earnest. "I can't comment on real estate speculation."

Though no stores are on the First Coast yet, residents may already be familiar with the Kohl's name through its extensive television advertising campaign designed to build national exposure.

Kohl's features name-brand goods in such categories as apparel; shoes and accessories; and home products including small electric appliances, bedding and luggage. Its prices are generally less than competitors Belk and Dillard's, said Helen Ciesla, manger of the Regency Square mall. Target is also one of their competitors.

Those who follow Kohl's say it only makes sense for the ambitious retailer to build in Florida. With 563 stores, it operates in all but 13 states, according to Kohl's Web site.

"They are slowly becoming a national retailer," Jeff Stinson, research analyst with Midwest Research in Cleveland, said of Kohl's. "When you look at the map for them, the last big area of opportunity is the state of Florida . …

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