In a year that many have labeled as disruptive, retailers large and small in 2017 have worked to develop new initiatives that serve to further merge store and e-commerce operations while also meeting the ever-changing needs of a more fickle and educated consumer base.
While some retailers have struggled to meet current-day challenges, others have taken positive steps forward to establish foundations upon which they hope to boost sales and gain market share in 2018.
HomeWorld’s first annual Retailers to Watch, in the November 6 issue, looks at eight retailers from various channels making big moves to reinforce their futures. Selected by the HomeWorld editorial staff, each of the retailers chosen are taking aim at top-level sales growth in the year ahead with housewares and home at the forefront of their growth strategies.
Total Stores: 600 (as of Q2 FY2017)
2016 Total Sales (in millions): $5,400
2016 Housewares Sales (in millions): $86
OVERVIEW: Known for years to consumers as Burlington Coat Factory, Burlington Stores today continues its effort to reposition itself as an off-price retailer that is more than just apparel. During the back-half of 2017, the retailer’s marketing campaign highlighted its breadth of assortment inclusive of housewares and home decorative products.
Burlington has also been the beneficiary of the growth seen by retailers across the off-price channel, which has come largely at the expense of department stores. Through the first half of the fiscal year, 2017 sales at Burlington were up 6.8% with comparable store sales up 2%.
WHAT TO WATCH: As the off-price retail segment has grown in recent years, much of the spotlight has shined on the TJX brands, including Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, and more recently Macy’s efforts with its growing Backstage concept. With Burlington now hitting the 600 store mark and more consumers shopping off-price retailers, continued strong sales growth is expected.
A key for Burlington going forward is differentiation. The leading off-price retailers today offer shoppers a store environment that is simple to shop and carry brand name products at a discount. But the stores from retailer to retailer can have a similar look and feel.
As Burlington continues to expand its store count while also looking to drive comparable store sales, it will need to find ways to provide its customers a unique in-store experience and keep the “treasure hunt” feel strong with a merchandise assortment that differs from other off-price chains. As has been seen with other retailers eyeing new growth, housewares and home will likely be a significant part of this effort.
From a fiscal standpoint, retail industry analysts are largely bullish on future growth at Burlington with an expectation that the retailer will continue to see sales momentum in categories such as home and beauty. In addition, as sales grow analysts say the need for markdowns should diminish, which will help strengthen the company’s bottom line.
2018 Retailers To Watch (click on name for profile)