REAL ESTATE

Tractor Supply ups its store growth potential

BY Marianne Wilson

Brentwood, Tenn. — Tractor Supply Co. has increased its estimated domestic store growth potential to 2,100 locations from a previously estimated 1,800 stores.

Jim Wright, chairman and CEO, stated: “Over the past four years, we have effectively tested and validated the viability of the Tractor Supply store model in small markets. We are pleased that we are able to generate a comparable rate of return on investment in these markets, which opens up additional growth opportunities for Tractor Supply stores. We believe we have a long runway of growth ahead of us.”

In working toward its expanded goal of 2,100 stores, Tractor Supply will continue to target square footage growth of approximately 8% annually, which has been a “very manageable” growth rate for the company, Wright said.

Also, building on its momentum in fiscal 2011, Tractor Supply increased its long-term operating margin target to 9.5% from its previous target of 8.5%. (The chain’s operating margin was 8.3% in 2011.)

Greg Sandfort, president and COO, stated: “We have achieved record operating margins the past two years as structural changes including our Consumable, Useable, Edible (CUE) strategy, customer acquisition strategy and continuous improvement program have contributed to our strong results. Additionally, we are still in the early stages of executing our strategic gross margin initiatives, which we remain intensely focused on and from which we believe we will continue to gain traction.”

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OPERATIONS

Survey: Long checkout lines a major turnoff to shoppers

BY Marianne Wilson

Boston — Nearly 40% of smartphone-carrying shoppers abandon their in-store purchases due to long lines and 21% will abandon their purchases if there are no registers open, according to a survey sponsored by in-store commerce provider AisleBuyer.

The study, “Mobile Shopping Survey Series, Part 1: Mobile Self-Service,” also found that more than half of shoppers “hate waiting in line” at grocery stores (52%) and mass merchants (51%) the most. Other types of stores that scored high include: drug stores (29%); quick-service restaurants (27%); and club stores (26%).

“Nearly half of shoppers said if a line is too long they will either leave the store without purchasing anything or only buy the few items they came for, without shopping the rest of the store,” said Andrew Paradise, AisleBuyer’s CEO. “Giving these shoppers another way to pay — without having to wait in line — will increase the likelihood that they will ultimately purchase something in the store, rather than abandon the purchase due to frustration. The survey results clearly show that shoppers are interested in this alternative checkout experience — something savvy retailers are investing in as we speak.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Sixty-four percent of those surveyed expressed interest in scanning products from a store’s aisle using their smartphone to get additional information such as pricing, product reviews, nutritional information, related products, etc.
  • Thirty-six percent have already scanned items for more information using their smartphone.
  • Sixty percent of smartphone-carrying shoppers said they would use their mobile phone to pay during an in-store shopping trip if it meant they didn’t have to wait in line.
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REAL ESTATE

Bottom Dollar to open eight more stores in New Jersey

BY Marianne Wilson

Salisbury, N.C. — Bottom Dollar Food announced plans to open eight additional stores in New Jersey. The expansion will more than double the number of Bottom Dollar Food stores in the Garden State, with the first two stores opening March 2.

"We have been pleased with customer reaction to our current five stores in New Jersey and we are very excited to continue serving customers at our additional locations in the market," said Bottom Dollar Food president Meg Ham.

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