Retail

Express Continues Reopening Its Stores

Express store

Express. Inc., the fashion apparel retailer, is pushing ahead with reopening its stores, the company announced Friday (July 10).

As of the July 4 holiday weekend, the Columbus, Ohio-based company has reopened 95 percent of its stores and expects to open the rest in the coming weeks.

Express has more than 500 retail and factory outlet stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

The stores have been opened in accordance with federal and state guidelines, and adherence to recommended health and safety protocols, Express said.

As part of the reopening process, the retailer has enabled shipping from its store in more 330 locations to support online demand. In addition, it has enabled buy online, pickup in store options in more than 275 stores and plans to have all retail stores enabled by the end of the third quarter.

“While the recovery of our industry will clearly take some time, our strategic transformation remains on track,” said CEO Tim Baxter, in a statement.

Since the pandemic emerged in March, Baxter said, the company expects revenues to fall by more than $100 million.

With each wave of store openings, sales and traffic improved week over week through the third week in June, with sales outpacing traffic due to higher conversion levels, Express said.

Comparable sales improved from being down by more than 50 percent in early May to 15 percent by the third week in June, the company said.

But as COVID-19 cases began to spike in several states in late June, the company said it saw declines in sales and traffic in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, which were significant enough to impact total results.

There will be other challenges.

Last month, a PYMNTS report noted brick-and-mortar retail was suffering long before the pandemic. As the shift to digital continues, the last three months have shown that consumers are not only used to conducting commerce online, but they like it.

The PYMNTS survey revealed where 42 percent of consumers are engaging in even the most routine activities online, as much as $158 billion in brick-and-mortar sales are moving to eCommerce.

In light of that, companies of all stripes have been rushing to ensure their consumer-facing experiences are smooth, flexible and, where possible, contact-free.

“For retailers today, it’s even more important to have flexible tools and offerings that allow people to make choices,” said Samuel Mueller, CEO of Scandit, a developer of augmented reality and mobile computer vision technologies.

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