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US Retailers who are beating the blues out to invest in opening stores despite the industry gloom

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The global pandemic of Covid-19 or Coronavirus has literally pushed several brands of the retail industry in USA on the brink of bankruptcy. However, encouraging news are at hand from a couple of brands where the elements of growth are there thereby enticing them to open up multiple stores across America. This situation of shakeup has been on sight from several apparel chains and departmental stores, there are other areas like beauty, home furnishings, grocery chains and discount stores have decided to open up. According to a Coresight Research, there were 7,707 announced store closures and 3,344 openings, as of this year.

We provide below details of some of the brands who are daring to swim against the tide, with obvious reasons, of course.

1. At Home:

At Home has presence of 600 shops in 219 locations in the USA with growing numbers even during the Coronavirus situation. Much of the shopping has been on home items like home furniture and other necessities to spruce up one’s home. It has reported that its fiscal second-quarter sales rose roughly 51% to $515.2 million, while it turned in its best quarter of same-store sales growth (42.3%) and profitability in its history.

As the home goods chain Pier 1 Imports liquidates, At Home is also expecting it will gain some of that market share. 90% of At Home’s stores are within six miles of a Pier 1 store, and a third of its locations are within a mile of a Pier 1.

2. Five Below:

The brand is planning to open 110 to 120 net new stores this year alone. CEO Joel Anderson said it has the potential to grow to more than 2,500 stores nationwide up from roughly 1,000 today.

The popular discount retailer’s quarterly revenue rose from $417.4 million to $426.1 million, in comparison to last year, however the growth rose to 6% after the reopening the stores. The rivals are like Dollar general and Dollar Tree. The people turned up to stock items on hand sanitizers, wipes and masks along with kitchen items and bath products. Much of their audiences are young buyers. The new locations that are set to be opened will have sections called Five Beyond, which will sell items costing $5. To be value driven, they plan to have expanded snack sections at the front and self checkout kiosks.

3. BJ’s Wholesale:

BJ’s Wholesale Club, a leading warehouse club operator in the Eastern United States, announced today that the company is opening two new club locations in New York in early 2021. Located in Long Island City and Newburgh, the two clubs will bring local families 25% savings compared to grocery store prices and mark the 220th and 221st locations for the company. BJ’s will also open a BJ’s Gas location in Newburgh, helping members saves even more.

Both locations will feature an extensive selection of fresh foods, a full-service deli and household essentials like paper products, cleaning products, diapers, pet supplies and more. Plus, the clubs will offer the treasure-hunt experience that BJ’s members love with an exciting assortment of fashion for the family, seasonal items, toys, hot tech and a selection of local products.

Both clubs are expected to bring about 300 jobs to the region. The two new clubs will be the company’s 44th and 45th locations in New York. BJ’s Wholesale Club is bringing a fresh take to the wholesale club experience:

  • 25% off grocery store prices: BJ’s beats supermarket prices on national brands every day so members can stock up for less.

  • Fresh choices: BJ’s assortment offers more fresh food than other warehouse clubs, with delicious produce, meats, deli and bakery items for weekly shopping.

  • Shop Your Way: Members can shop however they want with convenient options like, buy online, pick up in-club, and same-day grocery delivery.

4. Lidl:

The German originated hard discount grocer Lidl plans to open its 100th U.S. location in Suwanee, Ga. Plans call for Lidl to hold a soft opening at the Suwanee store — with no ribbon cutting — to maintain social distancing for customers and employees. In line with the company’s coronavirus safety measures, the store will operate under adjusted hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Sunday. “Next week’s opening represents an important milestone in our mission to deliver outstanding quality products at the lowest possible prices to our customers in the United States,” Roman Heini, chairman of Arlington, Va.-based Lidl US, said in a statement. “We plan to continue to build new stores, ramp up our hiring efforts and expand our network of distribution centers to reach even more customers in the years ahead. We look forward to forging new and strong relationships with everyone who helps make our journey possible.”

5. Old Navy, Athleta:

Gap Inc. is a leading global retailer offering clothing, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, and children under the Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix, Janie and Jack, and Hill City brands. Fiscal year 2019 net sales were $16.4 billion. Gap Inc. products are available for purchase in more than 90 countries worldwide through company-operated stores, franchise stores, and e-commerce sites.

Gap Inc. announced that customers will be required to wear masks in all of its U.S. stores, including subsidiary chains, beginning Aug 1s, keeping the safety issues of the customers and personnel intact..Given the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Canada, the brand wants to do everything that can to help stop the spread of the virus.”

In addition to its flagship Gap stores, the company also operates Old Navy, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix and Janie and Jack locations.

Old Navy continues to believe that they are under-penetrated compared to their competitive set in the smaller markets where their competitors are but they are not. And Athleta, still at only 50% brand awareness and under-penetrated in their store fleet, still has an opportunity to open some stores here and potentially elsewhere.

6. Tractor Supply:

Tractor Supply Co. has expanded its existing deal with crowd sourced delivery company Roadie Inc. to help it meet the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the next 12 months, Tractor Supply had plans to increase the number of stores offering Roadie delivery, says Rob Mills, chief technology officer, digital and strategy, at Tractor Supply. Given the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, customer demand for delivery services became more pronounced, causing Tractor Supply to move up the timetable dramatically, he says. “It was a very smooth and seamless transition,” Mills says because Roadie was already serving about 400 Tractor Supply stores and the retailer had already integrated Roadie into its systems as an option consumers could choose at checkout. That helped accelerate the process of rolling out Roadie delivery at an additional 1,462 locations in less than three weeks. The service is now available at all of its stores.

Roadie uses a network of more than 150,000 independent drivers that operate vehicles of all kinds. The company says it can offer same-day delivery to 89% of U.S. households. Mills says Roadie’s flexibility and large footprint made it a good fit. For large shipments, he says, Roadie drivers with SUVs or light trucks can use store-supplied trailers to deliver large, heavy items such as lawn tractors.

Expanding its same-day delivery option is just one of the ways Tractor Supply is responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Among them, Tractor Supply has:

  • Implemented contactless curbside delivery for items bought online and picked up in stores.

  • Expanded the number of items available for buy online same-day and next-day delivery.

  • Started filling more than 5,000 full-time and part-time positions across its stores and eight distribution centers.

  • Awarded a one-time special bonus of $1,000 for store managers and $500 for those in frontline leadership and support roles.

  • Extended paid sick leave by two weeks for all employees affected by COVID-19.

  • Provided a $2-per-hour bonus to hourly store employees.

Unlike many retailers that closed stores in response to state and local stay-at-home orders, Tractor Supply stores are deemed to be essential businesses and have stayed open. A company statement says the retailer has benefitted from “stock-up activity” starting in early March, as shoppers loaded up on supplies in anticipation of shelter-in-place orders. During March, overall comparable store sales increased 12% above the prior year and sales in “key consumable categories” were up more than 20%. The increase in consumables was more than offset by declines in discretionary categories such as clothing, footwear, toys and gift items, the statement says. The company’s ecommerce business also experienced significant growth in March; the statement says but did not provide specifics.

Tractor Supply—founded as a mail-order tractor parts business in 1938—offers a mix of products necessary to care for home, land, pets and animals. The retailer has recently been boosting its omnichannel capabilities. Recent changes include tweaking the pickup part of its buy online pick up in store services and giving associates mobile checkout devices. About 50% of Tractor Supply ecommerce orders are picked up in stores.

7. Ulta Beauty:

As the coronavirus impacts the market, Ulta Beauty has completed its phased reopening process, while adjusting its retail footprint with a mix of new store openings planned and some store closures.

Ulta Beauty noted that it has completed its phased reopening process. To meet individual comfort levels, consumers can shop via curbside pickup, buy online pickup in store, on, via the Ulta Beauty app and in Ulta Beauty stores. In addition to its Shop Safe Standards, Ulta Beauty will require all guests and associates to wear facial coverings when in stores. As different parts of the country manage rising COVID-19 cases, the company will maintain its close monitoring of government and health guidance as well as local case prevalence to inform nimble actions where necessary.

Mirroring its reopening approach, the company began welcoming back furloughed employees consistent with individual store operational needs. To date, approximately 50% of those furloughed in April have been reactivated.

Given the uncertainty and disruption created by COVID-19, the company continues to refine its near-term new store opening plans and expects to open approximately 30 new stores in fiscal 2020. New store activity was temporarily paused in the first quarter due to COVID-19; openings are expected to resume in August 2020.

As new store opening plans are finalized for fiscal 2021, the company anticipates opening additional new stores in the U.S. and in mid-2021, will make its entry to Canada with a number of stores. In addition, after evaluating its existing store portfolio, the company plans to permanently close 19 stores in the second and third quarter of 2020.


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