Fort Myers, Fla.-based women's retailer Chico's FAS has announced plans to close at least 250 stores and to expand a review of its operations. In a news release, the company said the strategic initiatives are designed to "build on the company's omnichannel platform" and ensure it has "the agility, customer service and speed needed for long-term success in a competitive retail environment." Chico's said it would close at least 250 stores in the U.S. over the next three years, as part of its decision to "rebalance the mix" between its physical stores and its digital presence. By closing stores, the company said it would be able to take advantage of expiring leases, while improving profitability and return on invested capital.
Total Retail's Take: It hasn't been the strong start to 2019 that many retailers were hoping for — and expected. Both Macy's and Kohl's reported disappointing holiday results, and J.C. Penney announced that it will be closing three stores, with the potential for many more on the horizon, following its own weaker-than-expected holiday sales. As for Chico's FAS, which includes namesake Chico's, along with White House Black Market and Soma, the focus going forward will be on better serving today's omnichannel customer, albeit with less stores. One potential growth area for the retailer is on Amazon's marketplace, which Chico's FAS CEO Shelley Broader noted not only drives e-commerce revenue, but also foot traffic into Chico's retail locations. With traditional brick-and-mortar retailers challenged to find ways to reinvent their businesses in a changing retail environment, credit Chico's for taking steps to return the business to profitability.