The publicly traded chain, which is now forecasting FY same store sales growth of 6.5 percent and a total of 25 new or acquired doors before its Mar. 28, 2020 year-end, may make an aggressive expansion push into the heavily-populated Northeast U.S. as it eyes an eventual store count of 500 from its current 248 doors across 33 states.
“We’ve done a fair amount of work over a couple of different studies that would defend a doubling of the team…,” CEO Jim Conroy told analysts last week. “And we’ve recently started looking more aggressively into the Northeast. We have new stores performing well on the East Coast already-NC, SC, VA. And as we migrate up to that part of the country, we expect that we’ll see some of the same paybacks and three-year or better payback for those stores.”
In Q2 ended Sep. 28, Boot Barn generated same-store sales growth of 7.8 percent as total revenues rose 11.3 percent to $187.2 million and a 170 basis-point improvement in operating margin. Ecommerce sales grew 7 percent in the period as approximately 20-25 percent of customers who picked up their online order in store buying something else while there.
“We feel that our work business has been solid now for eight quarters probably in row now,” remarked Conroy. “It’s been solid in boots and in apparel…We’re seeing growth in pull-on work boots and lace-up work boots,” he added, suggesting Mom ‘n Pop independents and Tractor Supply are the banner’s biggest rivals currently.
Boot Barn appears to be trying to strike an inventory, sales and profitability balance between a half dozen private brands it has developed and external third-party labels. Each of BOOT’s six brands is said to target a different demographic or psychographic, including Hawx, which began in work boots and is now moving into work apparel.
In other retail news,