Friday, Mar 19, 2021

Apricot Lane Boutique Reports 10% Growth in Year-Over-Year Brick-and-Mortar Retail Sales

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VACAVILLE, Calif., Sept. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Today, Apricot Lane Boutique, the nation's leading women's fashion boutique retail franchise offering branded women's fashion apparel, jewelry, handbags and accessories currently with more than 80 opened and planned store locations nationwide, announced impressive year-over-year sales results. Despite the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the brick-and-mortar retail market, the boutique franchise reports sales are up more than 10% to last year, showcasing strong growth margins, increased profitability for store owners and the highest volume across the franchise's fleet to date. In fact, some of the store locations are showing triple-digit growth in year-over-year sales, despite reductions in traffic that most brick-and-mortar retailers are facing. The franchise's success metrics are strong indicators of continued growth for the company, further validating consumer demand and preferences for the boutique business model that emphasizes hyper-local and independently owned boutiques in the wake of COVID-19.

According to eMarketer, the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020 resulted in a projected 10.5% decline in total U.S. retail sales this year, with a 14% plunge in brick-and-mortar sales, as in-person shopping and demand for nonessential goods came to a halt in light of stay-at-home mandates. In today's pandemic retail market, Apricot Lane Boutique is defying this forecast with its results, despite several of its stores operating in limited conditions based on social distancing guidelines reducing traffic and hours of operation. Through its real estate strategy for store site selection, the curation of products to mirror local customer base and its agility in adapting to COVID-19 regulations put in place locally, the franchise has experienced strong sales and seized opportunities for growth.

"Apricot Lane Boutique's sales growth is a direct result from our franchisee-owned, local structure. When the pandemic hit, we partnered with our owners to ensure they were well-positioned to navigate the pandemic, continue engaging with their customers to stay front of mind, and maximize sales," said Patrick Stewart, CEO of Apricot Lane Boutique. "Shoppers are showing stronger preferences for apparel shopping at their favorite boutique, and as we look ahead, consumers will be more tuned in to invest into their local merchants with the pandemic closing the doors of many national retailers. The hyper-local business model and unique site selection process implemented across the country have enabled us to remain resilient, deepen our relationships with our customers and grow during a turbulent time, signaling a new era for brick-and-mortar retail."

Apricot Lane Boutique has moved beyond original 2020 expectations overall. The Apricot Lane stores that have seen strong success during the pandemic have driven performance based on the implementation of strategic and personalized approaches such as innovations in social media, development of online e-commerce platforms, the introduction of findability and engagement tools, and the capitalization of "buy local" campaigns. The franchise ramped up its headquarters team to pivot swiftly at the beginning of the pandemic to provide the type of retail operations support needed to make a difference to its top and bottom line. For example, its team extensively trained owners on how to maintain a robust and authentic voice across multiple digital platforms to effectively reach their customer base, including Instagram, Facebook, Google, TikTok and more.

"Even pre-pandemic, consumers were growing tired and disappointed with predictable and transactional-focused shopping experiences. Brick-and-mortar isn't dead – but same boring retail is. Boutique customers thrive on relationships and personal experiences like those found in Apricot Lane Boutique," said Chris Lanning, president of retail at Apricot Lane Boutique. "When you visit an Apricot Lane Boutique, you're met with an experience tailored to your area, cultures, trends and styles. Our franchise provides expertise across all disciplines of retail. Our mission is to provide services, tools, and best practices to help our owners be better operators and drive profitable sales."

With more than 80 open and planned locations across the country and growing at the rate of 20-30 stores per year, each Apricot Lane Boutique is locally owned and carries a uniquely curated selection of merchandise that features a mix of established and up-and-coming brands, many of which are not yet available in traditional retail stores. Apricot Lane's franchise owners are doing what they love. They are passionate about fashion and are given the freedom to fill their boutiques with merchandise that keeps their local customer coming back for more.

"Going into the pandemic, we weren't sure we'd be able to achieve our sales goals for 2020, let alone make it through to the other side. The ability to work in a model that supported us operationally and allowed us to remain independent gave us agility to customize and manage our local market and customer relationships throughout the pandemic," said Susan Groesbeck, co-owner of Apricot Lane in Manchester, Vt. "This year has demonstrated how important the model is at Apricot Lane. Innovations and collaboration across our brand helped us achieve triple digit growth year over year."

This is not unique to the brand in 2020. A new location in Delaware is outpacing its sales projections that were established pre-pandemic.

About Apricot Lane Boutique
Apricot Lane Boutique is a leading women's boutique franchise, and member of Country Visions, Inc., and offers a variety of branded, fashion-forward apparel, accessories and gifts at affordable prices. With 80 opened and planned store locations nationwide, the company offers a fresh mix of merchandise in-store and online, and customers have the ability to build a current yet unique style.

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