4 Growth Tactics Boot Barn Will Employ in 2024
In a keynote presentation at the ICR Conference in Orlando, FL earlier this month, Jim Conroy, chief executive officer of Boot Barn, detailed four growth strategies the retailer is focused on in 2024. Boot Barn, the nation's leading lifestyle retailer of western and work-related footwear, apparel and accessories, is one of the fastest-growing companies in the world and is looking to continue the positive momentum it has generated over the last decade-plus. The retailer has grown its net sales over $100 million every year for 11 years straight. In addition to growing top-line sales, Boot Barn has posted a 34 percent gain in profitability over the past decade. Conroy shared Boot Barn's plans to enable continued success in 2024.
1. Expand Store Growth
Boot Barn opened 11 new stores in the third quarter of 2023, bringing its total store count to 382 across 44 states nationwide. With almost 90 percent of sales coming from its stores, the retailer is investing in its brick-and-mortar footprint and updating the store assortment to offer more than just boots. While still the retailer's primary product category — boots account for about 50 percent of total revenue — just one in three transactions includes footwear, highlighting increasing customer interest in an expanded apparel assortment. Boot Barn plans to grow to 397 stores by the end of March, with an overall goal to open over 500 more locations nationwide.
2. Boost Same-Store Sales Growth
Opening more stores requires a strong return on investment from every new location. Conroy noted that in order to drive same-store sales growth, Boot Barn is utilizing a less promotional marketing strategy to protect product margins as well as working to expand its customer base. The retailer has formed brand partnerships with country music star Morgan Wallen and NASCAR to broaden its reach; elevated its creative and branding strategy to romanticize the western industry; and established itself as a lifestyle brand. Same-store sales have averaged 11 percent growth over the last four years, including 2023. Leadership is committed to 15 percent new store growth with a 66 percent return per unit, according to Conroy. Furthermore, Conroy sees plenty of growth drivers for Boot Barn in addition to same-store sales; for example, the retailer's ladies division has grown from 19 percent to 22 percent of the business. He believes there's additional runway to grow the ladies business at Boot Barn.
3. Continue Omnichannel Leadership
Boot Barn has a differentiated online presence, operating bootbarn.com, sheplers.com, and countryoutfitter.com, as well as an Amazon.com storefront. The western retailer is a leader in the omnichannel space, driving store foot traffic through its digital channels, offering omnichannel fulfillment and more cross-channel offerings. While Conroy acknowledges the growth of its e-commerce business, Boot Barn's store revenue is growing so fast that e-commerce can’t keep up. The key is integrating the online and offline channels together for a holistic brand experience. In fact, 60 percent of Boot Barn's online business is touched by a store associate.
4. Build Out Exclusive Brands
Exclusive brands such as Boot Barn's Cody James line (the company's No. 1 selling brand) have been a driver for the business, and now account for three of the top five brands sold by the company. Currently, 38 percent of all Boot Barn sales are from exclusive brands, and Conroy believes the company can grow those sales up to 50 percent of the business.
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Kristina Stidham is the digital content director at Total Retail and sister brands Women in Retail Leadership Circle and Women Leading Travel & Hospitality at NAPCO Media. She is passionate about digital media and handles video, podcast and virtual event production for all brands. You can often find her at WIRLC, TR, WLT&H or industry events with her camera and podcasting equipment—or at home on Zoom—recording interviews with thought leaders and business executives.
Kristina holds a B.A. in Media Studies and Production from the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication in Philadelphia. Go Owls! When she's not in the office, she loves to go on long walks, sing around the house, hangout with her family and two pet guinea pigs, and travel to new places.