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Francesca’s plans mobile app amid COVID-19 sales slump

A struggling young women’s apparel retailer is developing its first mobile app in time for Black Friday.

Francesca's Holdings Corp. is partnering with SaaS retail app platform Poq to launch a mobile shopping app. The retailer recently reported a 50% sales drop in preliminary first quarter results, attributed largely to the impact of COVID-19 and has warned it may have to file for bankruptcy. However, Francesca’s also cited “continued strong momentum” in e-commerce.

The retailer intends to launch a new iOS app this summer and a new Android app later in 2020, in time for Black Friday and the holiday season. Francesca’s says the app will provide an elevated design, improved navigation, and increased ease of use. In addition, the company sees the app as an important data-gathering tool.

"During the temporary store closure period resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, our e-commerce business surged,” said Andrew Clarke, CEO, Francesca's Holdings Corp. “Given the accelerating shift to online shopping, we are excited to be stepping up our digital transformation strategy with the launch of this mobile app. In addition to enhancing her online shopping experience, the app will provide valuable insights into how customers interact with our brand, enabling us to interact with her in a more relevant and impactful way.”

"It's important to see brands like Francesca's placing app commerce at the center of their digital transformation strategy and doubling down on mobile in light of the recent changes in consumer behavior," said Mike Hann, president of Poq. "We look forward to working together with Francesca's to bring shoppers a superior and unified omnichannel shopping experience."

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Francesca’s had been investigating new omnichannel commerce possibilities. In February, the retailer began piloting same-day online delivery from its suppliers in Houston.

Francesca's operates approximately 701 boutiques in 47 states and the District of Columbia and also serves its customers through 

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