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Good news for graphic designers arrived this week despite the somewhat disappointing retail holiday season. Major retail chain Kohl’s Corporation announced plans to open a new design studio in Santa Monica, California as well as expand their existing studio at 1400 Broadway in New York which may represent the possibility of much needed new jobs. According to a January 12th press release posted on the company’s site, approximately two floors will be added to the New York design offices as part of the expansion, doubling the office size to over 100,000 square feet over the next two years. The original office currently houses 140 designers and support staff who manage design and development of 13 brands, including such recognizable brand names as Vera Wang, Food Network, Dana Buchman, Bobby Flay, ELLE, ELLE Décor, FILA Sport and Jennifer Lopez.

In addition to the New York office expansion, a newly created 6,000-square-foot studio space located at 2700 Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, California opened January 16th “… in order to harness the unique talents of design professionals in southern
California.” The new space will be home to “…a team of 20 trend and graphic arts professionals who will provide support across multiple brands.”

Kohl’s was one of several hard hit retailers, including Target and J.C. Penney who despite “decent sales” had to adjust 4th quarter profit projections according to the New York Times. That aside, their private label brands have performed well for them, accounting for 51 percent of third quarter sales. Reflective of that, Kohl’s Senior Vice President of Product Development, Peggy Eskenasi described the reason for the New York expansion and California design studio opening as “…support[ing] the growth and incredible success we’ve experienced with our exclusive brands…” In a sluggish economy brand differentiation can be a defining factor to spur sales.

According to AdAge.com Kohl’s spends $340 million measured media annually.
Designers and others interested in career opportunities in either office are encouraged to visit http://www.kohlscareers.com for more information and a current list of available positions.