Kohl’s Corp., the fourth- largest U.S. department-store chain, expects Internet sales to climb at least 30 percent this year as it boosts advertising through sites including AOL.com.

“We have a lot of opportunity to grow” online, Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mansell, 57, said yesterday in a telephone interview.

The chain’s Internet sales trail Macy’s Inc., the second- largest U.S. department-store chain, and J.C. Penney Co., the third-biggest, the CEO said. Sears Holdings Corp. is the biggest U.S. department-store chain.

Kohl’s, based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, plans to increase Internet advertising by 25 percent this holiday shopping season, he said. The chain is working to grab customers from department-store chains that liquidated as consumer spending waned, such as Gottschalks Inc. and Mervyn’s LLC.

The retailer has also stepped up radio and direct-mail advertising, and is sponsoring home pages at AOL.com, MSN.com and Yahoo.com during some merchandise promotions. A Kohl’s Facebook site started in May has about 750,000 members, and is expected to count 1 million by year-end, Mansell said.

Jewelry, home goods and labels exclusive to Kohl’s, such as LC Lauren Conrad by the former star of the series “The Hills,” should emerge as top online categories for the retailer, Mansell said. He said the Conrad brand has had “exceptional” sales.

Kohl’s has also increased advertising to Spanish-speaking shoppers as it expands in California and Florida, Mansell said.

Kohl’s rose 77 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $57.59 at 9:52 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares rose 57 percent this year through yesterday.

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) — Hong Kong Resources Holdings Ltd., the gold company that has jumped fivefold in market value in the past year, said jewelry sales in China will climb at a “double- digit” pace this year.

Middle-class buyers in China, the second-biggest gold user, drove a 16 percent gain in gold and silver jewelry sales in the first nine months, Hong Kong Resources Chairman Kennedy Wong said in an Oct. 23 interview. Record household savings are fuelling demand for investment products and wedding gifts.

China’s economy grew 8.9 percent in the third quarter, the fastest pace in a year, and the World Gold Council said in July that the nation may pass India as the biggest consumer. Bullion is on course for its ninth annual gain after the dollar weakened and demand for gold as a store of value increased.

“With the Chinese economy faring exceptionally well this year, people are getting more wealth,” said Ellison Chu, a metals manager with Standard Bank Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong. “It’s quite normal to expect that demand for gold will increase in the next two to three years.”

Bullion advanced to a record $1,070.80 an ounce Oct. 14 as the dollar dropped to the lowest level since August 2008 against a basket of six major currencies and amid concern inflation may accelerate. Gold will rise to $1,200 an ounce by yearend as the dollar extends a slump, researcher CPM Group said Oct. 15.

‘Huge Room’

“The Chinese have only started to buy gold as an investment product, and there’s huge room for this sector as the middle class grows,” said Wong, whose company has 219 jewelry stores in mainland China, eight in Hong Kong and two in Macau.

China’s household savings reached 26 trillion yuan ($3.8 trillion) this year, Wong said. Gold and other jewelry sales in China are forecast to reach 260 billion yuan this year, only 1 percent of the total household savings, he added.

“We will see double-digit growth for years to come,” said Wong. The company plans to add 100 stores in mainland China next year and another 100 in 2011, he said.

Sales in India have been poor during the holiday season amid record prices and the nation’s imports will decline, Anjani Sinha, president of the Indian Bullion Market Association, said Oct. 22. Sales in India typically reach their highest point during the Hindu festival of Diwali, which this year fell on Oct. 17, and the wedding season that follows.

Sales in China will also be boosted by demand for wedding jewelry, Wong said. “This year is particularly good for marriages and we will see increases in turnover across the board in the fourth quarter,” Wong said. There are about 10 million couples getting married every year in China, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Gold for immediate delivery has advanced 18 percent this year and traded at $1,041.05 an ounce at 4:06 p.m. in Singapore.

 

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