Kohl's Corporation is an Americandepartment store retail chain. The first "Kohl" store was a supermarket founded in 1946, and the first Kohl department store was founded in 1962. In 1972 British-American Tobacco Company took a controlling interest in the company and the Kohl family left the management of the company in 1979. A group of investors purchased the company in 1986 from British-American Tobacco. It is currently the second largest department store by retail sales in the United States.
Maxwell Kohl, who had operated traditional grocery stores, built his first supermarket in 1946, the first in what would become a southeastern Wisconsin chain known as Kohl's Food Stores. In 1962, he started his first department store, Kohl's Department Store, in Brookfield, Wisconsin. He positioned Kohl's between the higher-end department stores and the discounters, selling everything from candy to engine oil to sporting equipment.
In 1972 the British-American Tobacco Company's US retail division, BATUS Inc., bought a controlling interest in Kohl's Corporation, which at the time operated 50 grocery stores, six department stores, three drug stores and three liquor stores. The Kohl family, led by Allen and Herb Kohl, continued to manage the company. The family left the management in 1979, and Herbert Kohl became a United States Senator and owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. The firm then expanded Kohl's presence from 10 to 39 stores in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. The grocery stores were sold to A&P in 1983, operating under the name Kohl's Food Store, and later Kohl's Food Emporium. In February 2003, A&P put the Kohl's Food Stores up for sale, as part of an effort to reduce debt. In June 2003, A&P announced its plans to close all Kohl's Food Stores and administrative offices. By the end of 2003, all Kohl's Food Stores locations were closed.
A group of investors, including the senior management, purchased the company in 1986, and the company added 27 more stores in the next two years. In 1988, the chain acquired 26 locations from Chicago-based MainStreet, gaining several stores in Chicago's suburbs, Minneapolis-St. Paul and parts of Michigan. In 2009, Newsweek magazine cited Kohl's in its "Green Rankings"  which examine 500 of the largest corporations on their environmental track record. Kohl's was ranked 18th out of 500 overall, and was ranked first in its industry. Newsweek remarked that Kohl's has the largest solar power program of any retailer globally, it pursues green building certification and over 78 locations in six states have solar panels. In addition, in 2008, Kohl's started to sell reusable shopping bags.
Kohl's uses a "racetrack" aisle that circles the entire store, a technique borrowed from discount stores.[dead link] In 2011, Kohl's announced plans to remodel 100 of its 1,100 locations. Changes included redone store sections, fitting rooms, and newer merchandise displays.[dead link] In 2012 a consumer investigation by CBS News discovered that Kohls had engaged in the practice of marking up products in the weeks before a sale in order to make products appear as if there were being sold at low prices and artificially inflate the amount of the price mark-down.