Children’s specialty retailer Carter’s plans to open more than 50 new stores across the U.S. this year as it aims to hit the 1,000-store mark by 2027, Chairman and CEO Michael Casey said on the company’s Q1 2023 earnings call.
Carter’s currently operates nearly 800 stores across the country. The 50 new stores will be offset by the closure of approximately 10 stores this year when their leases expire. Collectively, the new stores are expected to contribute about $40 million in sales this year.
“Nearly 70% of children’s apparel is purchased in stores,” said Casey on the call. “We believe our stores provide the very best presentation of our brands and are our highest source of new customer acquisition. And when we open stores, we also see a lift in our high-margin ecommerce sales.”
To that end, Casey said the new stores will be focused in “high-traffic centers that provide convenience for online shoppers and enable the same-day pickup of digital purchases.”
To enable these omnichannel purchasing behaviors, Carter’s highlighted the investments it has made in its app, which now accounts for one quarter of all ecommerce sales, over the last few years. The retailer also is testing a same-day delivery partnership with Shipt.
Carter’s Q1 sales and earnings were lower than last year, which Casey said was expected as “historic inflation began to meaningfully weigh on families with young children and their demand for our brands.” Net sales for the quarter decreased 10.9% to $695.9 million, compared to $781.3 million in Q1 2022. Nevertheless, Casey believes the brand is well-positioned to take advantage of a strengthening economy.
“We believe our multi-brand, multi-channel business model and leading market position in essential core products will enable Carter’s to benefit from the market recovery in the years ahead,” said Casey.