Zumiez ended its fiscal year on January 31st with 603 stores; 550 in the U.S., 35 in Canada and 18 in Europe. How many stores do they expect to ultimately have? In the past, they’ve opined that 600 to 700 might be about the limit in the U.S. Obviously, they’ve got some head room in Canada (Maybe 70 stores total?) and a lot more in Europe. I imagine that limits of growth in North America had something to do with their acquisition of Blue Tomato.
But the Omni Channel changes things. One of their risk factors in the 10K is “Our growth strategy depends on our ability to open new stores each year, which could strain our resources and cause the performance of our existing stores to suffer. That’s true, I guess, but is kind of a normal business risk.
I haven’t read every word in Zumiez’s (or anybody else’s) list of lawyer induced cautionary risk factors. But I don’t think I’ve seen anything about the omni channel in them. Seems to me the risk factor above has to go away, or maybe changed to say something like:
“The omni channel changes things in ways we’re still trying to figure out. It’s not just about opening stores; it’s what shape and size of stores to locate where to make sure that they integrate with everything online with particular attention to how our mobile customers want to shop. If we don’t do this right, we’re screwed.”
Okay, lawyers might put it differently, but I think you see the point. This is something every retailer is thinking about (I hope) and I want to talk about how Zumiez views it.