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Sajal Kohli

Senior PartnerChicago

Leads McKinsey’s Global Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods Practices and works with retail and consumer-goods companies to guide growth, commercial and operational transformations

Sajal is based in Chicago and leads McKinsey’s global work in the retail and consumer-goods industries.

In more than 25 years of management consulting, Sajal has counseled leading global retail and packaged-goods clients as they set growth strategies and face the challenges of both the changing international landscape and domestic-market shifts because of digitization, consolidation, and new entrants. He has served retail and consumer-goods clients across Asia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, and North America. He serves retail clients across multiple formats, including hypermarkets, pure ecommerce players, grocers, restaurant chains, department stores, and leading consumer-goods companies across food, consumer-electronics, personal-care, beauty, and other categories.

Sajal focuses on working with senior leaders and their management teams to drive growth and commercial and operations transformations across both retail and consumer-goods companies. Over the last few years he has been spending a lot of time with organizations on the potential and implications of tech enablement, including advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, and their implications on the future of work.

Examples of Sajal’s recent projects include the following:

  • devising and implementing an e-commerce-growth strategy for a global apparel wholesale brand
  • serving a leading US department store on its marketing transformation
  • helping a leading global consumer-goods company craft a growth strategy
  • assisting in operations and supply-chain transformations for a high-growth grocery chain
  • building industry-leading digital and analytics capabilities for a leading global restaurant chain
  • developing a road map for automation and artificial-intelligence capabilities and evaluating its impact on the future workforce for a leading global retail company
  • helping develop a growth strategy for an Asian accessories retailer
  • designing and implementing a company-wide program of agile transformation for a Latin American retailer

Sajal has also led numerous private-equity due-diligence efforts, including conducting due diligences and improving business performance of portfolio companies. He also serves leading real-estate investment trusts. Regardless of the scope or size of a project, Sajal makes capability building a top priority, coaching executives on change management and ensuring that newly embedded solutions and approaches change ways of working and drive business performance.

Before joining McKinsey, Sajal was an executive for a retail and consumer-goods company in Asia and Europe. He has had the privilege of keynoting at leading industry forums, such as for APAS Show, Consumer Brands Association (formerly, Grocery Manufacturers Association), The Food Marketing Institute, Google Retail Advisory Council, and National Retail Federation, among others. As a well-published thought leader, he has contributed to the recent McKinsey Global Institute report on the future of work, growth, and renewal in the United States and is leading McKinsey’s proprietary perspectives on the reformation of retail.

On a personal level, Sajal has accomplished milestones such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, completing several Chicago Olympic distance triathlons, playing in the US Squash Illinois State Championships, and was a national swimmer and part of the Indian junior water-polo team.

As a global citizen who has lived and worked across continents, Sajal is also deeply invested in the power of foreign policy and is a trustee of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.


McKinsey survey reveals consumer sentiment improving but shifting brands and behaviors,” an interview with Sajal Kohli, Forbes, July 2020

Published work

State of the Consumer 2024: What’s now and what’s next,” McKinsey & Company, June 2024

An update on US consumer sentiment,” McKinsey & Company, ongoing

Time to move: Sporting goods 2024, McKinsey & Company, January 2024

The world of ‘ands’: Consumers set the tone,” McKinsey & Company, June 2023

The state of grocery in North America,” McKinsey & Company, May 2022

The next horizon for grocery e-commerce: Beyond the pandemic bump,” McKinsey & Company, April 2022

Sporting goods 2022: The new normal is here, McKinsey & Company, January 2022

How to deal with price increases in this inflationary market,” McKinsey & Company, January 2022

A $300 billion opportunity: Serving the emerging Black American consumer,” McKinsey Quarterly, August 2021

Michelle Gass of Kohl’s on shifting from survival to growth,” McKinsey & Company, July 2021

It’s showtime! How live commerce is transforming the shopping experience,” McKinsey & Company, July 2021

The state of grocery in North America,” McKinsey & Company, June 2021

The varieties of consumer revival,” Project Syndicate, May 2021

Omnichannel shopping in 2030,” McKinsey & Company, April 2021

The consumer demand recovery and lasting effects of COVID-19,” McKinsey Global Institute, March 2021

Sporting goods 2021: The next normal for an industry in flux,” McKinsey & Company, January 2021

DTC e-commerce: How consumer brands can get it right,” McKinsey & Company, November 2020

Meet the next-normal consumer,” McKinsey & Company, August 2020

How COVID-19 is changing consumer behavior—now and forever,” McKinsey & Company, July 2020

Moving past friend or foe: How to win with digital marketplaces,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

How retailers can ring the register in a recession,” McKinsey & Company, March 2020

Clean up in every aisle,” McKinsey & Company, February 2020

How lessons from the record-breaking 2018 holiday season can inform retailers’ 2019 strategy,” McKinsey & Company, July 2019

Automation in retail: An executive overview for getting ready,” McKinsey & Company, May 2019

Winning in an era of unprecedented disruption: A perspective on US retail,” McKinsey & Company, January 2019

Walter Baker, Gadi BenMark, Manish Chopra, and Sajal Kohli, “Master the Challenges of Multichannel Pricing,” MIT Sloan Management Review, June 6, 2018

Where stores can still compete—and win,” McKinsey & Company, November 2017


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Product and brand manager

Sales executive

Hindustan Unilever
Management trainee


Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University

University of Delhi
BA, commerce and economics