Kohl's Corporation is mounting a search for a new chief operating officer after Arlene Meier announced she will retire from her position at the end of the year.

The department store retailer said Meier would remain in her current management capacity until a successor was found, and would stay on the company's board of directors until the end of financial 2006.

Meier, who joined the company in 1989, has been COO since 2000 and has 30 years' experience in the retail industry.

"My 16 years with Kohl's has been both exciting and rewarding," Meier said. "To have been part of Kohl's growth from 66 Midwest stores to 741 stores nationwide has been an incredible journey."

Larry Montgomery, Kohl's chairman and chief executive, said: "Arlene has played a significant role in Kohl's disciplined expansion strategy and strong financial position."