Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is taking advantage of other retailers' woes by snapping up their real estate and customers.
The company opened three stores this week, bringing its total portfolio up to 318 units. President and CEO Mark Butler says the chain is seeking to operate 950 stores eventually, as CNBC reported Wednesday.
“Brick-and-mortar isn’t dead; Ollie’s is thriving,” Butler boasted in an interview with Mad Money host Jim Cramer. “Our shopping experience — it’s absolutely 'unduplicable' online. It just ain’t gonna happen.”
Ollie's fourth-quarter same-store store sales rose by 5.4 percent.
The retail chain's loyalty program is some 9 million members strong and generates about 70 percent of the retailer’s business, Butler said. Meanwhile, Ollie's has been able to grab market share from failing rivals, especially in the toy sector, he said. The chain has moved into 18 former Toys 'R' Us spaces, buying some of them outright and taking over the leases of others.
Butler describes his chain's success in eccentric, colorful terms. “You come in, you see the goofiness, you see the signs, you see the bargains — and you know what: It’s very difficult to come in and just buy one item,” he said. “You see another bargain, you pick it up, we ring you out, we say thanks. And they come back.”
By Brannon Boswell