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Kohl's (Photo: Jarrad Henderson, Detroit Free Press)

Kohl's department stores, which had an agreement with online retail juggernaut Amazon since 2017, announced Tuesday that it will accept Amazon-purchased returns at all stores nationwide starting in July.

"This unique partnership combines Kohl's strong nationwide large footprint and omnichannel capabilities with Amazon's reach and customer loyalty," said Michelle Gass, Kohl's CEO . "This new service is another example of how Kohl's is delivering innovation to driving traffic to our stores and bringing more relevance to our customers." Kohl's is seeking to enhance its appeal to customers as traditional retailers struggle to compete with online retailers and shoppers seek more personalized and direct-to-their-experiences.

In some ways, the announcement is a if-you-can't-beat-them-join-approach.

Kohl's did not give a specific date when the service would start or details how it will work

The free returns service is expected to offer convenience to Amazon shoppers who already can order items online and have them arrive in a day or two, while at the same time , giving them a reason to come in the store.

Kohl's said it will accept items regardless of the reason and whether the items are packaged or not for shipping.

The service expands the Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based retailer's partnership with Se attle-based Amazon

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Kohl's announcement comes about a month after Amazon announced it will close more than 80 of its small retail locations – pop-up stores, like Amazon refers to them – inside Kohl's, Whole Foods and shopping malls.

In March, Kohl's also announced that it is deepening its product relationship with Amazon by carrying Amazon products in more than 200 stores and that it would be shrinking the size of some of its stores.

In addition, Aldi supermarkets said it would open near five department stores, and Planet Fitness said it would open next to 10 stores, in an effort to draw more shoppers to Kohl's, the company said

Kohl's rolled out of pilot returns program about two years ago and is now operating it in 100 stores in the Los Angeles, Chicago and Milwaukee markets. Amazon customers will be able to return items to more than 1,000 additional Kohl's stores.

Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or fwitsil@freepress.com

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