Is now a good time for retailers to open new stores?
Retailers have announced some ambitious expansion plans that take advantage of pandemic-related closures. Perhaps not by accident, among the biggest are from chains that have minimal e-commerce presence.
Three dollar store chains — Family Dollar, Dollar Tree and Dollar General — will make up about 45 percent of the anticipated 3,597 openings among larger chains in the U.S. this year, according to Coresight Research findings from early May, cited by CNN.
Dollar General will make up about a third of all openings. The favorable real estate climate will help it roll out pOpshelf, a concept aimed at higher-income, suburban customers. Todd Vasos, CEO, told analysts last December, “We’ve seen some real opportunity to grab some very good real estate.”
Other retailers with minimal or less than average online penetration landing on Coresight’s top-ten list of expanding chains included Five Below, Casey’s General Store, Aldi, Burlington Stores, Signet Jewelers and Tractor Supply.
Only one, Aerie, appears to have an online penetration higher than average. Its parent American Eagle Outfitter’s digital penetration increased to 40 percent of revenue in the first quarter.
About 60 Aerie and 30 Offline by Aerie athleisure openings are planned. American Eagle’s CEO Jay Schottenstein said on a March quarterly call that the aggressive openings take advantage of Aerie’s momentum in the marketplace and a “favorable real estate environment.”
Among others with a sizable online presence ramping up expansion, Warby Parker will open 35 locations this year after securing flexible lease terms and reconfirming the omnichannel value of stores over the last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Lululemon last week said it will open 45 to 55 net stores in 2021, up from prior guidance of 40 to 50. Calvin McDonald, CEO, said on Lululemon’s quarterly call, “We are committed to stores, and we are building more stores this year and seeing more and more great real estate opportunities become available in great areas in key cities around the globe.”
Other chains touting expansion plans this year include Athleta, Big Lots, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Fabletics, Nike, Old Navy, Sephora and TJX Cos.
- Nearly 1 in 3 new stores opening in the US is a Dollar General – CNN
- Dollar General Corporation (DG) Q3 2020 Earnings Call Transcript – The Motley Fool
- American Eagle Outfitters Inc (AEO) Q4 2020 Earnings Call Transcript – The Motley Fool
- Warby Parker Founders Explain Why They Are Adding 35 Stores After Pandemic – The Wall Street Journal
- Lululemon Athletica Inc. (LULU) CEO Calvin McDonald on Q1 2021 Results – Seeking Alpha
- Rent is cheap, vacant space is everywhere: Retailers seize the moment to open stores – CNBC
- These 10 retailers are in expansion mode: Here’s who is opening new stores – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What conclusions should be drawn from the finding that chains adding the most physical stores in 2021 have a modest online presence? Has the pandemic and the related accelerated digital shift reduced the need for having physical stores for many chains?