Week in Review: Chico’s Plans to Sell Boston Proper

Aug 28, 2015 10:40 AM  By

Chico’s FAS has announced it is exploring strategic alternatives for Boston Proper, the direct-to-customer women’s apparel retailer it acquired for $205 million just four years ago.

Chico’s FAS President and CEO David Dyer confirmed the company is seeking “strategic alternatives” for the Boston Proper brand, but did not specify a plan to exit the business.

“While we believe the brand has great potential as a direct marketer, store performance has not met our expectations and we’ve concluded that our time, our capital, and our efforts will generate more significant opportunities in our other brands,” Dyer said during its second-quarter earnings call on Aug. 27.

Boston Proper sales decreased 4% compared to last year. Though Dyer said Chico’s FAS saw positive trends in customer response rate, it was unfortunately not enough to offset promotional pressure.

A week after the 2011 acquisition, Boston Proper president Sheryl Clark told Multichannel Merchant that despite speculation that retail stores loomed on the horizon, she and her team were still solely focused on the direct-to-customer business.  However, Chico’s FAS did eventually open 20 omnichannel Boston Proper Boutique locations, which offer customers specially curated collections and access to Boston Proper’s entire inventory via in-store iPads.

“When we bought it [in 2011], our whole thing was that we thought that we could have 300 stores, 400 stores and that it would be a $400 million to $600 million business over time,” Dyer said on August 27. “When we saw that the stores are really not working and we didn’t think it was prudent to continue to invest in the stores, after we had 20 stores out there.”

Here’s a look at this weeks’ news, commentary and events that shaped the direct-to-customer world… and more.

Marketing

share-this-icon-75X75Stuart Weitzman will launch its first television commercial starring the face of the brand, Gisele Bundchen, Sunday during this year’s MTV Video Music Awards… The UGG Brand has opened two pop-up stores featuring  Infinite UGG, a seamless online integration that grants access to an endless aisle of merchandise not found in store, in Boston and Elizabeth, New Jersey…Finish Line introduces an exclusive experience with Puma within targeted locations throughout the country….

Ecommerce

Add-To-Cart-Icon-75X75Pear Tree Greetings, Invitations by Dawn and Ann’s Bridal Bargains choose KalioCommerce to provide speed to market,scalability and control and a full-service on-demand SaaS environment… Silver Star Brands’ Director of Ecommerce Ian MacDonald talks about the company’s ecommerce strategy this holiday season… Mobile commerce is growing 300% faster than ecommerce, according to this infographic which was made by Coupofy and includes several sources… Internet retailer BabyBlankets.com has recently launched a sophisticated baby gift personalization interface, designed to facilitate customized purchases on tablets and smartphones as well as personal computers… Tablet screen sizes are expanding as the industry awaits the launch of the iPad Pro… Ecommerce membership club DirectBuy is seeing great results with its new platform….Filene’s Basement makes return as a low-price online retailer in September.

Shipping and delivery

shipping-delivery-75X75Amazon launched its Prime Now delivery service in the Seattle area - and customers there can have booze delivered to their door in about an hour! Okay, not spirits and such, but Amazon says beer and wine will be part of the product selection, just as it is with Amazon Fresh in the same region… HSN will consolidate its distribution center in Roanoke, VA and promises to speed up delivery times… Gear up for the holiday season with some quick distribution center fixes… Gym and Fitness has deployed NetSuite OneWorld to manage its core retail and wholesale distribution business operations… SkuVault says its web-based ecommerce warehouse management system is being used by 12% of Inc. 500′s list of fastest-growing privately held retailers…

Cross-border

global-ecommerce-icon-75X75transcosmos inc. will start providing ecommerce one-stop services for the United States to VAIO Corporation through its subsidiary transcosmos America Inc.… GlobalShopex announced that U.S. Magento merchants can now integrate GlobalShopex’s currency localization directly on their ecommerce websites… Prologis, Inc. has signed five new development leases totaling 926,000-sq.-ft. in three of its target markets in China: Suzhou, Chongqing and Shenyang… bebe stores, inc. is heading to China thanks to a joint venture…

Mergers and Acquisitions

mergers-and-acquisitions-75X75General Wireless Operations, which recently acquired and is now doing business as RadioShack, re-launched its business, education and government commercial accounts business, targeted at strengthening the ties between their retail stores and the businesses, municipalities and schools in the communities that the company serves…

Financials

financials-icon-75X75ULTA Beauty grew its ecommerce sales 43.4% to $36.1 million from $25.2 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2014… Williams-Sonoma’s ecommerce sales rose 9.1% to $523 million in the second quarter… Burlington Stores Inc. saw a 9.6% increase in net sales in its second quarter…Destination XL Group announced a total sales increase of 9.6% to $114.1 million from $104.2 million in the second quarter in 2014…. 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. reported a gain of 850,000 new ecommerce customers in the fourth quarter and approximately 1.9 million customers placed orders during this time. Express, Inc. said its ecommerce sales rose 21%Guess’s comp sales, including ecommerce, fell 3% for the quarter…

… And more

newsLuxury watches and and fine jewelry seller Ashford announced that Engle Saez has joined the company as President and Chief Ecommerce Officer…. RetailNext Inc. expanded its analytics platform to support Bluetooth beacon-based solutions to identify and exclude the movement of store sales associates from traffic counts and shoppers’ in-store shopping paths. This allows retailers to transform the in-store experience with better customer engagement, more relevant sales associate training, optimized store layouts and more… OpinionLab today announced its Summer 2015 Release to extend the advantages of digital consumer initiated engagement into physical locations…