Cover Story: The 100 Fastest-Growing Omnichannel Retailers
#77 Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Everyone loves a good chocolate company story, and Durango, Colo.-based Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is just that.
Incorporated in 1982, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is an international franchiser, confectionery manufacturer and retail operator, with stores in the U.S., Canada and the United Arab Emirates. The company produces 300 chocolate candies and other confectionery products using proprietary recipes developed by its master candy maker. During holiday seasons, the company may make as many as 100 additional items, including many candies offered in packages specially designed for the holidays. Approximately 40 percent of the products sold at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory stores are prepared on the premises.
Sales are derived from three sources: sales to franchisees; the collection of initial franchise fees and royalties from franchisees’ sales; and sales at company-owned stores in factory outlet malls, tourist areas, regional malls and streetfronts.
Here are some select highlights from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory's 2013 fiscal year, according to its website:
- total revenue was $36.3 million, an increase of 4.9 percent compared with $34.6 million in fiscal year 2012;
- the company entered into a licensing agreement with Kellogg Company for the use of its Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory trademark on certain specialty cereal brands; and
- the company moved forward with its international expansion initiative. As of May 2013, five Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory stores were open in Japan, and the company's first store in South Korea opened in Seoul last spring. — Melissa Campanelli
For Nashville, Tenn.-based Kirkland's, 2013 was the latest in a string of successful years. Since fiscal year 2009, the specialty retailer of home décor and accessories has realized sales growth. So what's Kirkland's secret for success? Remaining true to the customer.
Founded in 1966, Kirkland's has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Over the last few years, the wholesale retailer has focused its efforts on multiple sales channels. It launched a mobile website, revamped its e-commerce site and developed a social media marketing strategy. Kirkland's Dream Room Giveaway sweepstakes in late 2012 is an example of the company's social media prowess. The Facebook campaign generated a 40 percent increase in fan engagement for Kirkland's on the social media site.
In 2013, Kirkland's went back to its roots and focused on growing its brick-and-mortar business. Specifically, the retailer has opened more stand-alone locations. Currently, about 90 percent of Kirkland's brick-and-mortar stores are in off-mall locations. In addition, the retailer's ever-changing merchandise selection offers consumers a unique blend of style and value.
"As we look to fiscal 2014, we remain excited about the investments in store growth, merchandise systems and process improvement, greater e-commerce capabilities, and focused branding initiatives that we expect to drive improved traffic, sales and earnings results," said Robert Alderson, Kirkland's president and CEO, in a company press release.
Below are a few highlights from Kirkland's 2013 fiscal year:
- net sales increased 2.7 percent from 2012;
- e-commerce sales increased .5 percent, compared to a 3 percent decrease in 2012; and
- the company recently announced it's moving to a larger headquarters. — Caitlin Sullivan