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McKenna Roach, 6, dragged herself from bed at 4 a. Already well schooled in the rules of supply and demand, she is prepared to take what she can get. Heather Reisman needs crowds like this. The CEO of Indigo, the Toronto-based retail chain that built its business selling books, has been working frenetically to shore up plummeting sales: To bolster sales, Reisman has been working to reinvent Indigo, which operates 92 superstores and small-format stores under the Indigo banner, as well as Chapters, Coles, Indigospirit, SmithBooks and The Book Company.
Over the past several years, the company has been quietly introducing stationery and gift items, but in the last year, Reisman has begun moving far more quickly to fill the stores with non-book items, expand its toy department and introduce exclusive lines like American Girl.
Customers can still pop in to thumb through the latest Donna Tartt or Stephen King novel, but these days Indigo shoppers are just as likely to pick up a faux-fur-covered hot water bottle, some seasonal dinnerware or a cheerful print to hang in their family room, to name just a few of the new, affordably aspirational houseware items the retailer now offers.
The cash-strapped chain is facing some mighty headwinds. Things are going less smoothly at the small-format stores, such as Coles, where it may be difficult to squeeze in a whole department store. Same-store sales were up just 1.
The chain is also experimenting with new store layouts and features at a pair of test stores in London, Ont. Reisman acknowledged at the annual meeting that some customers initially complained when the chain began introducing items like candles into the blend.
We move where the customer is. That acquisition quickly fizzled, and many in the industry wondered what a bookstore was doing selling tulip bulbs and trowels.
And why do many think the company just might succeed this time?
Take a massive space and fill it with tens of thousands of books. Purchasing power and economies of scale would allow you to undercut the competition many times over. But things have changed, and cavernous retail outlets with single product lines are disappearing.
Many smart retailers are beginning to act more like department stores—or even mini-malls. While 10 years ago, a 1,square-foot in-store doll boutique might have seemed an incongruous addition to a bookstore, the shop-within-a-shop model has become a popular and profitable retail trend that allows one brand to leverage the appeal of another.
One of those advantages could be cost savings.
Every partnership is structured differently, but a popular model is to rent or sublet floor space to another retailer. A second benefit is the halo hot new properties bring to the host store. The figures are American, but Kniffen says the Canadian environment is comparable.
Chains like Indigo rely on in-store amenities like its ubiquitous Starbucks counters and unique product lines to motivate customers to make the trek.
Then they need to get them to linger. In fact, Indigo has already learned a thing or two from the popular U. The savviest retailers, however, do more than simply tweak inventory and retail environments. At the Yorkdale opening, wristbands were given out at 7 a.Business Plans Handbook, containing articles about Business Plans - Volume Business Plans Handbook, containing articles about Business Plans - Volume Welcome to Buckstore Inc.!!
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Whatever type of retail store you're starting, a good business plan is essential. Get ideas from this assortment of sample business plans for clothing stores, online stores, e-businesses, gift shops, eBay, art galleries, and other retail businesses.