Glik’s Pleasantly Surprised by Reopening Results
There has been a lot of talk among people who watch the retail space that sales of apparel and footwear may be slow to rebound as some stores around the country begin reopening.
Macy’s, for example, said it expects average sales at stores that reopen to be 15% to 20% of normal.
That’s why industry customer Glik’s, which has 66 stores in the Midwest focused on apparel and footwear, was pleasantly surprised last week with results at a dozen stores that reopened.
CEO Jeff Glik told SES that sales jumped 9% over last year’s numbers the day the stores opened – even though Glik’s had cut operating hours by 33%.
A vast majority of Glik’s stores are also able to do curbside pickup, which Jeff isn’t a big fan of because it doesn’t drive a lot of sales. On average, the 51 stores that opened for curbside generated about 14% of last year’s sales.
With regard to the strong sales at the 12 stores that opened last week, Jeff believes several factors are likely playing into those results. Glik’s stores are located in small towns in the Midwest, and a lot of their competition is located in malls, which remained closed.
He also thinks the stimulus money and expanded unemployment benefits are putting more money in shoppers’ pockets. In addition, Mother’s Day also propelled a lot of spending.
While pleased with the initial results, Jeff is still very cautious. The stimulus and unemployment money can be leading to a “false high,” he said.
“What happens when that money runs out?” he said. “The unemployment rate is now 14.9%. That’s going to be a huge factor.”
Jeff also believes Glik’s has an advantage compared to competitors because most if its stores are on the smaller side, about 3,500 square feet, and located in strip centers and in downtowns. He believes customers will feel safer shopping in that kind of environment compared to a shopping mall.
In addition, Glik’s kept all store managers and salaried home office employees on the payroll, even before it received its PPP loan.
That allowed store managers to get their stores ready to reopen by adding safety features such as social distancing guidelines, masks, etc. So when local governments gave the go-ahead to open, Glik’s was ready.
For example, just this week, Wisconsin suddenly announced freestanding stores and stores in strip centers could open that same day with a limit of five customers at a time. Within 30 minutes, Glik’s stores transitioned from curbside service to fully open.
“We consider our store managers our store owners, and we did not furlough a single one,” he said. “We’re a family business and treat every manager as family. I am really glad we don’t have to call manager’s back from unemployment – that will not be an easy road for our competition.”