January 18, 2020 Real Estate Publication

Boot Barn CEO plans to double store count to 500: Western fashion a ‘massive retail opportunity’

Boot Barn is on the road to bring Western fashion to the East Coast.

The California-based workwear and lifestyle retailer has nearly 250 stores peppered across 33 states in all regions except the Northeast, which is where CEO Jim Conroy told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Friday that he has his eye on for expansion.

“We’ve mapped out the whole country, state by state, and we’ve gotten to a number of exactly 250 — doubling to 500,” Conroy said in a “Mad Money” interview. “So we think we can double the store count. Soon to be in Pennsylvania, so we’re getting closer and closer to New York, and hopefully we’ll have investors going.”

As many retailers gradually close brick-and-mortar locations to adapt to the online shopping environment, Boot Barn is banking on its physical store strategy to continue selling its footwear, apparel and accessories to customers. The company gets more than 80% of its sales at its stores because many of its products are “store-preferred” purchases that provide “insulation from online” competition such as Amazon, Conroy said.

“We really focus on driving store traffic,” he explained. “A guy on a job site needs this boot to get back to work that day, so he can’t wait for it to be shipped to him typically. But so far Amazon carries many of the products that we carry, but they’ve done that for years and we continue to see growth in both channels.”

Boot Barn is projected to open at least 40 stores by the end of its 2021 fiscal year. The retailer’s quarterly revenue has consistently grown double digits year over year. Same-store sales growth came in roughly between 7% and 12% in each of the past seven quarters, according to FactSet.

“We’ve said in the past that this is a massive retail opportunity that’s been hidden in plain sight for years,” Conroy said. “It’s hard to understand when you’re in Manhattan or when you’re in Los Angeles, but when you fly across the country you look down and you’re looking at our customer.”

Boot Barn shares are up nearly 147% year to date. The stock rallied more than 2% to close at $42.04 on Friday.

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Amazon.com.

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