Center for Retail Design and Innovation Partners with Kohl's

October 28, 2021

The College of Design’s Center for Retail Design and Innovation (CRDI) has entered into the biggest partnership in its history with omnichannel retailer Kohl’s. Based outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Kohl’s financial commitment over a three-year period will support CRDI’s work to enrich the student experience in retail merchandising.

Housed within the Retail Merchandising program, CRDI cultivates collaboration between students and faculty and the retail industry to educate future retail leaders and to address critical challenges in retailing.

“The mission of CRDI is to engage with the retail industry as a means to enhance the research and strengths of the Retail Merchandising program,” explained CRDI Assistant Director Peggy Lord. “We want to foster design thinking to solve retailing problems and provide premier student learning experiences. This generous gift from Kohl’s will help us forward our mission.”

As a key partner of CRDI, Kohl’s, a leading retailer with more than 1,100 stores nationwide, will help educate future retail leaders by participating in collaborations with students in the classroom.

“We are thrilled to partner with the College of Design’s Center for Retail Design and Innovation to provide experiential learning opportunities that will inspire and cultivate the next generation of retail innovators,” said Nancy Carruth, Kohl's executive vice president, brand strategy, creative and design experience, and advisory board member for CRDI. “It's an extraordinarily exciting time to be in retail, and it's a privilege to be in a position to collaborate on immersive programming that will enable University of Minnesota students to explore and impact such a dynamic and evolving industry.”

Students will not only collaborate on research projects alongside Kohl’s professionals, but will also get the chance to explore real-world issues while receiving industry mentorship. In return, Kohl’s will gain access to new perspectives from students, as well as partnerships with retail faculty members and researchers to share insights and assist in business strategy development and analysis.

“The Retail Merchandising program has long been known for its synergistic collaborations with industry stakeholders,” said Interim Department Head and Director, Center for Retail Design and Innovation, Hye-Young Kim. “This platinum partnership with Kohl's brings new energy and excitement to the program and builds on our ongoing commitment to bring the industry into our classrooms.”

“I can’t wait to see what CRDI and Kohl’s is able to accomplish through this new partnership,” concluded Lord. “I know together we will be able to make sure the next generation of retail leaders is equipped to go out and revolutionize the retail field.”

Want to learn more about CRDI? Reach out to Assistant Director Peggy Lord to connect and talk about opportunities to engage and partner.

On December 3, students, faculty, and staff celebrated the official opening of the new Center for Retail Design and Innovation (CRDI).

On the second floor of McNeal Hall, a new research center is opening its doors. Designed to connect retail industry professionals with faculty and students, the new Center for Retail Design and Innovation (CRDI) brings a unique design thinking approach to retail industry problems.

The retail merchandising program is proud to share that, as part of its 2020 Retail Connect event, it was able to provide individual scholarships to six current retail students: Courtney Clark, Caroline Geiger, Pei Jet Teh, Olivia Rein, Annie Skogen, and Kersten Wetterstrom.