Express storefront at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio
Express Inc. is seeing some light at the end of the tunnel after closing its stores due to the pandemic.
The apparel retailer said same-store sales and traffic are improving as most of its stores have reopened. Currently, about 95% of Express stores are open, with the rest expected to do so in the coming weeks.
"With each successive wave of store openings, sales and traffic improved steadily week over week through the third week in June, with sales outpacing traffic due to higher conversion levels," the company said in a statement.
Same-store sales have improved from negative 50% in early May to negative 15% in the third week of June.
Traffic also improved, from approximately negative 65% in early May to approximately negative 30% by the third week in June. However, sales and traffic declined in Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas, as COVID-19 cases began to spike in those states.
Express said digital demand has improved throughout the quarter and delivered a positive comp in June due to an increase in both traffic and conversion. Digital penetration of total sales has remained elevated even as stores have reopened.
As part of the reopening process, Express has enabled ship-from-store capabilities in more than 330 locations to support online demand. It also has enabled buy-online-pick-up-in-store capabilities in more than 275 stores, with plans to have all locations 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 Tim Baxter, CEO, Express, which has more than 500 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. “We are encouraged by our customers’ response to the new Express product vision and brand positioning, and remain focused on what we can control as we continue to drive the Expressway Forward strategy and advance towards our long term objective of profitable growth.”