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TJX makes moves with new store growth concept

BY Mike Troy

Sierra Trading Post, an online retailer TJX Cos. acquired in 2012, is accelerating store expansion and could become a new growth driver for the nation’s leading off price retailer with designs on extending its value proposition to the outdoor and active lifestyle world.

TJX paid $200 million for Cheyenne, Wyoming-based Sierra Trading Post in December 2012. At the time, Sierra operated four outlet stores (in Wyoming, Idaho and Nevada). After 18 months under TJX ownership, Sierra st opened new stores near Denver in August 2014, in Fort Collins in October 2014 and in Colorado Springs in October 2015.

More recently, TJX has begun expanding the Sierra Trading Post concept to new markets nationwide and talking openly about growth potential. Last November, a Sierra store opened in Burlington, Vermont, and in May a new location will open in Salt Lake City.

In the third quarter, TJX will open a Sierra Trading Post stores adjacent to a Home Goods stores in a former Kmart location in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In total, TJX plans to open five Sierra stores in 2016 and president and CEO Ernie Herman has alluded to bigger things to come.

“We are very happy with the early reads in our new Sierra Trading Post stores, and we would be thrilled for STP to eventually become a fourth major chain in the U.S. and Canada,” Herman said during a conference call after TJX reported record fourth quarter results.

Also describing Sierra Trading Post as a TJX growth vehicle is Dan Hurwitz, interim CEO of Brixmor Property Group, the company that owns the Ann Arbor shopping center being redeveloped to house the new Sierra store later this year.

“Sierra Trading Post is a growth vehicle for TJX, moving the once online only concept to bricks and mortar,” Hurwitz said during Brixmor’s first quarter earnings call. “This will be their first location in Michigan as well as in our portfolio, and we look forward to expanding our relationship with Sierra Trading across our entire portfolio.”

Brixmor operates more than 520 shopping centers, the majority of which are anchored by a supermarket.

TJX doesn’t need to ramp up expansion of Sierra Trading Post anytime soon, give that it still has abundant growth potential for its TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Home Goods and other concepts. The company ended last year with 3,614 stores and plans call for 195 new stores worldwide this year. According to Herman, the company sees the potential to grow by more than 50% to 5,600 stores long term, just with its existing chains in existing countries.

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heidi klein, London

BY CSA STAFF
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Photos by Kate Berry

Swimwear retailer heidi klein opened a new store concept that will serve as the launchpad for the brand's international expansion.

With its refined, residential stylings, the store is designed to transport customers into an oasis of calm with a space that is light and warm. The walls, flooring and ceiling are all white, with an accent color of soft gold taken from the branding. Green palms add freshness and vibrancy. (The store was designed by Kinnersley Kent Design, London.)

The layout is inspired by domestic zones, creating a lifestyle-oriented environment that displays the brand's merchandise range, which has expanded to include apres-beachwear, menswear, childrenswear and accessories. Each item of the core swimwear collection is displayed in one size only, maintaining the brand's spare, luxe aesthetic. Integrated drawer units throughout hold stock in other sizes.

Over-sized brushed brass door handles announce the beginning of the fitting room area. The rooms are luxurious, with cushioned seats (hessian pouffes). White, framed wall-paneling strikes a domestic 'wardrobe' note.

A lounge area just outside the fitting rooms is in keeping with the store's residential feel, with its bespoke-designed armchairs and side tables. Images from current heidi klein campaigns are displayed on the wall behind the seating, and also in the fitting room common area.

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Perfumania continues slide in Q4; eyes store closures

BY CSA STAFF

After a difficult third quarter of fiscal 2016, Perfumania Holdings Inc. continued experiencing problems in the year’s fourth quarter.

The specialty chain is considering closing an unspecified number of underperforming stores after reporting net income of $2.26 million, down 59% from $5.5 million a year earlier. Lower gross profit and operating income helped slash profit.

Total net sales fell 11.5% to $162.48 million from $183.5 million, driven down by reduced same-store sales and lower store count with the average total number of stores at 319, compared to 325 the same quarter the prior year.

“The fourth quarter marked the conclusion of what was a transitional and challenging year for Perfumania largely related to a weak consumer environment, which impacted our retail operations,” said Michael Katz, president and CEO of Perfumania. “The fourth quarter and full year decline in net sales were largely attributable to lower foot traffic at stores, in particular those located in malls, and the ongoing slowdown in tourist-dependent areas, such as Florida, due to the devaluation of many major foreign currencies. Retail operations were also impacted, though to a lesser extent, by the closing of several store locations.”

In addition to focusing on unprofitable stores, Perfumania also recently launched new POS technology with full omnichannel capabilities that let store associates promote and cross-sell e-commerce products, and is pursuing partnerships with fragrance and fashion designers as it prepares to launch non-fragrance products in 2016.

For the full fiscal year, Perfumania swung to a net loss of $11.67 million from net income of $2.65 million in fiscal 2015. Net sales dropped 7% to $541.96 million from $583.95 million.

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