Stage Stores going off-price in a big way as it ramps up store conversions

Stage Stores is accelerating the conversion of its department stores to its Gordmans off-price banner.

The retailer announced that, based on strong results of the nine off-price conversions completed in 2018 and the 37 conversions so far this year, it is expanding the rollout of its off-price strategy. The 35 store conversions that it had previously planned for back-to-school will now be completed in June. Plus, an additional 10 to 15 stores will be converted to the Gordmans format in the third quarter.

Glazer pointed out that, through mid-March, sales in the company’s 2018 small market conversions have increased more than 150% since they were converted compared to their department store results.

“We are extremely pleased with the initial sales results in our March off-price conversions,” said Michael Glazer, president and CEO. “They have clearly exceeded our expectations and have continued the momentum that began with our 2018 converted stores. Based on the strong results we have seen across our converted store base, we are thrilled to further accelerate and expand our off-price growth strategy.”

With approximately 85 total conversions now planned for 2019, Stage Stores expects to end the year with about 150 Gordmans off-price stores. It plans to convert an additional 150 stores to the Gordmans in the first half of fiscal 2020.

“We now expect to enter the second half of 2020 with more than 300 Gordmans off-price stores, which will represent approximately half our total sales volume,” said Glazer. “With higher sales, improving store profitability, and faster inventory turns, our off-price strategy bodes well for our earnings and cash flow performance.”

As of March 28, 2019, Stage Stores operates 688 specialty department stores under several banners (Bealls, Goody’s, Palais Royal, Peebles and Stage) and 105 Gordmans off-price stores.

Stage Stores acquired 48 stores and a distribution center from Gordmans in March 2017 after Gordmans filed for bankruptcy and decided to liquidate. It turned the acquired chain into an off-pricer to successful results — so successful that Stage Stores has been converting its own stores to the off-price banner.