April 11, 2011, 5:33 PM

Direct sales grow 40% for Chico’s in 2010

Total revenue and same-store sales grew 11.1% and 8%, respectively.

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Women’s specialty apparel retailer Chico’s FAS Inc. had a good 2010 overall, but the channel that grew the most was the web.

For the year ended Jan. 29, Chico’s, which says all of its direct sales are online and is No. 190 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, reported: 

  • Direct sales increased about 39.8% to $137.4 million from $98.3 million in 2009.
  • Total sales grew year over year 11.1% to $1.9 billion from $1.71 billion.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 6.3%.
  • Net income increased 65.8% to $115.4 million from $69.6 million in 2009.

“We believe our direct sales growth of approximately 40% was a result of our strategy to invest in this previously under-served revenue channel,” the retailer says.

Internet Retailer calculates the web accounted for 7.2% of total sales compared with 5.7% in 2009.

Chico’s didn’t break out quarterly direct sales in its recently filed annual report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, but for the fourth quarter did report:

  • Total sales increased 9% to $475.0 million from $435.7 million in Q4 2009.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 1.1%.
  • Net income increased 18.3% to $20.7 million from $17.5 million.

Chico’s says more aggressive search marketing and social media helped drive growth in its direct channel in 2010. “We expanded our e-marketing efforts for all brands and made significant investments in paid search,” Chico’s says in its annual report. “We also used social media web sites such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with our customers. Social media marketing is another strategy by which we can actively engage with customers to provide them targeted brand messages or news concerning our brands.”

Jenn McClain, director of e-commerce marketing at Chico’s, will be speaking at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2011 in San Diego in June in a session titled “Discovering, defining and reaching hidden market segments”.

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