Q2 underscores heft of the outlet channel: Q2 was a mixed bag as apparel and accessories companies generally performed better than pure retailers.
The weakest category for retailers during the second quarter of 2013 was juniors. Youth retailers are under considerable pressure as teens flee traditional mall stores. Macy’s cited juniors as a soft category, though off-price retailers Ross Stores and T.J. Maxx experienced traffic gains thanks to young girls buying clothing.
Back-to-school was off to a slow start, but for the past 10 years consumers have pushed this spending season further into September and October, reflecting a buying-as-needed behavior. With value still foremost in shoppers’ minds, outlets are seeing traffic gains and quickly becoming the brick-and-mortar channel of choice.
Coach to add 15-plus outlets in 2014
Coach plans to open at least 15 new outlet stores in North America in 2014. According to a July 29 conference call to discuss earnings with analysts, the company’s North American focus is on elevating retail environments and re-platforming stores to showcase the full breadth of Coach’s lifestyle categories. “We see an enormous amount of new real estate development [in the outlet channel],” said CEO Lew Frankfort. “We’re focusing on select new-market entry and on capitalizing on the men’s opportunity with some repositioning in smaller stores.”
Coach plans to expand North American square footage 7 percent in FY ‘14 by open- ing two full-price and 15 outlet units, mostly dual-gender stores, and one freestanding men’s store. Coach will also expand 20 locations, 13 of which are outlet, and will add the men’s door as the company builds out its dual-gender presentation. The company will also close 16 less-productive full-price stores.