As part of its efforts to enhance store profitability and improve customer experience, US department store retailer Kohl's will continue to "rightsize" its stores and says by the end of 2017, nearly half of its locations will be "operationally smaller".

The company, which is due to open four small format (35,000 sq ft) stores during the third quarter, has already "optimised" around 300 of its locations and has now revealed plans to downsize the physical square footage of its Warner Robbins, Georgia, and Fort Smith, Arkansas stores from 89,000 sq ft to 62,000 sq ft, and 87,000 sq ft to 62,000 sq ft respectively.

Meanwhile, in the spring of next year, Kohl's will open a new single-level 55,000 sq ft store in Greenfield, Wisconsin. The store will relocate from the current two-level 85,000 sq ft location in nearby Southridge Mall.

The relocation follows that of its 80,000 sq ft Charlotte, North Carolina, store earlier this year to a nearby 55,000 sq ft facility.

"By optimising and rightsizing stores based on customer and inventory needs, Kohl's stores are able to operate more efficiently and provide a more engaging customer experience," says the company.

The new stores, due to open in October in North Smithfield, Rhode Island; Blue Ash, Ohio; East Windsor, New Jersey; and Montebello, California; add to the eight small format Kohl's stores opened in 2016.

Kohl's says small format stores are "flexible and efficient, with fixtures that can be adapted by department and for localised merchandise and assortments".

Meanwhile, in a bid to enhance the capabilities of its e-commerce fulfilment network, Kohl's will begin shipping from its fifth e-commerce fulfilment centre in Plainfield, Indiana, this month. The 937,000 sq ft facility will be dedicated to processing, filling and shipping orders. The company says the facility is equipped with "state-of-the-art technology to maximise productivity and throughput".

"Our stores remain at the core of our omnichannel strategy and we will continue to invest in them by opening smaller formats, rightsizing and optimising our selling space and working to ensure that shopping in our stores is an engaging and inspiring experience for our customers," says Kohl's CEO Kevin Mansell. "We have set a goal to be the best-in-class omnichannel retailer and opening our fifth e-commerce distribution centre will support the delivery of online orders faster and more efficiently to customers nationwide."