Chico's FAS, Citi Trends reveal plans for store reopenings
With Covid-19-related restrictions set to be gradually lifted over the coming weeks, Chico’s FAS, Inc. and Citi Trends, Inc. have unveiled their plans for store reopenings and provided an update on the ongoing pandemic’s effects on their respective businesses.
The owner of Chico’s, White House Black Market, Soma and TellTale announced on Monday that it will begin a three-stage store reopening program starting May 4.
The first phase of the Fort Myers, Florida-based retailer’s plan will involve the fulfilment of national orders through stores, using store inventory. This will be followed by the introduction of a buy-online-pick-up-in-store service, including the option for contactless curbside pickup.
Finally, the company will introduce a shop-by-appointment service at all of its brands. All store reopenings will be conducted in line with national and local health and safety guidelines.
Chico’s FAS believes that it will be at an advantage as brick-and-mortar operations resume over the next few months. The majority of the company’s stores are under 3,500 square feet and are located in easily accessible shopping plazas, facts which the retailer claims will make it easier to reopen quickly and implement enhanced health and safety procedures, such as the management of the number of customers in store and the distribution of masks and hand sanitizer.
The company also pointed out that, despite physical retail disruptions, sales in its digital channel have seen double-digit growth since its stores closed six weeks ago, with particularly strong growth seen in the intimates, sleep, active and lounge categories.
Chico’s FAS has also come up with a newly adapted business plan for 2020, adjusting its digital marketing and distribution strategies, and cutting costs. The company’s actions are expected to result in a 30% saving in operating expenses, progress that the retailer intends to maintain in the future.
The Savannah, Georgia-based value-priced fashion retailer already reopened its stores in Arkansas last weekend, albeit with reduced opening hours.
The company announced on Tuesday that it intends to open its stores as soon as practical, but anticipates that reopenings will be spread out over a period of time, in line with changing state and local legislation and guidelines.
Citi Trends said that it is extending the furlough of its store and distribution center staff, as well as part of its corporate workforce, for another 60 days, but expects to be bringing back a number of its employees over the next few weeks as stores and distribution centers reopen.
As an extra capital conservation measure, the company will be temporarily suspending its quarterly cash dividend beginning in the second quarter of fiscal 2020.
Among the U.S. states that ordered store closures, South Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and Alaska allowed retailers to reopen last week, with Mississippi, Montana and Tennessee following suit on Monday.
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