The News Concerning Boscov’s Expansion Strategies
Boscov’s has been defying the odds and instead of downsizing, like so many department stores are doing these days, they are opening yet another store this year, 46th.
Major department stores are experiencing the reduction in sales year after year, but Boscov’s CEO and Vice Chairman Jim Boscov announced that the chain has seen a single digit increase in 2016 holiday season when compared with 2015. Jim Boscov is a nephew of Albert Boscov, the CEO of the company.
Online shopping, most notably Amazon, is taking customers away from traditional stores, but Boscov’s is staying strong and swears by brick-and-mortar establishments.
The company did, however, go through Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2008, but managed to survive, while many of its competitors are going through it now.
So how is Boscov’s standing strong and resisting? Can the old-school methods really be the answer? Yes, according the CEO, the company thrives because it seeks presence in the communities and wants to be involved.
The chain opened its newest store in a mall in Utica, N.Y. this October. Next location is scheduled to open in Millcreek Township, Erie County.
Boscov’s is based in Pennsylvania, but also has stores in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio.
Pennsylvania is very strategic for Boscov’s expansion, because the retailer will open its doors to a new customer base that travel there from as far as Canada. One of the cornerstones of this retail chain is to stay true to its roots and remain traditional and predictable. Boscov’s is not chasing trends and instead is keeping the department store really a department store, where a customer can come in and find everything he needs in his life in one place.
Some analysts are claiming that Boscov’s might have really hit the right note with its consumers: people want more than a store; they want a community, a place to explore and belong to. This goes way deeper than just a location. When consumers come into Boscov’s, they get a feeling of enchantment, they love to see and learn something new, and finally be able to find something they didn’t even know they needed, but now can’t live without. This magical experience is way more important than price and it keeps consumers coming when all other stores become scripted, boring, and cluttered.
Boscov’s has been through the bankruptcy, and that gives the chain some credibility because it survived. Some retail analysts have doubts about the strategy of opening more stores, when everybody else seems to be focusing on electronic retailing. Nobody knows which methods of business will win at the end - the millions of dollars poured into digital operations or 1-2 new physical stores per year.
Boscov’s main asset and advantage is its customer-focused service. The store always had innovative approach to promotions and that is of real value.
The retailer has been in the family business for generations. It was started by Solomon Boscov and now is led by his son, Albert Boscov, who is the guiding light of the company since 1954. It’s his spirit that keeps team sharp, relationships friendly, and customers eager to visit every week. This has never changed. One thing that did change is the company’s approach to selling. The store tried coupons and soon understood that it doesn’t want customers to go through all the fine print reading and dealing with coupons. Boscov’s now focuses on honest pricing and as little confusion as possible.
The same selling methods and warm customer service extends to the online operations. About 60% of online purchases come from the markets and are packaged with care and delivered fast. Consumers these days come to expect and appreciate that.
The company has no plans to slow down and wants to continue its calculated, but sure expansion. Boscov’s strategy is to open 1-2 stores per year filling in the gaps in the current footprint and slowly venturing out.
Besides expansion, Boscov’s will be focusing on its strengths and reputation, which are believed to be its success guarantees. Consumer loyalty in Pennsylvania was achieved with personalized touches, gift wrapping, and candy over the years, and now it should be built up further, extending to the web.
Boscov’s often utilizes vacant and closed department stores and focuses on expansion instead of building from the ground up. With Sears and Macy’s closing their stores Boscov’s definitely has a lot of options to do just that – expand carefully and try not to make mistakes.