The current retail trend is for companies to shutter bricks-and-mortar stores and shift their focus to online sales. But plus-size apparel retailer Eloquii is going in the other direction and opening a handful of physical locations.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Eloquii is prepping to open its first physical stores this summer and fall after living strictly online since its resurgence in 2014.
The plus-size clothing line plans to expand its footprint outside the online world slowly, taking a “walk before we run” approach, Steve Zawada, executive vice president and chief operating officer, tells the Dispatch.
To do so, the company will first open a handful of stores and then ramp up to a total of 40 stores over the next four years.
Going offline isn’t exactly foreign territory for the brand, as it actually began with a physical appearance as a sub-brand of The Limited. However, the now-defunct retailer shuttered the brand in 2013. A year later, employees of The Limited brought the Eloquii back to life online.
Now, after nearly three years of living on the internet, the company is ready to go back to its roots with at least three bricks-and-mortar stores.
To test the retail waters, the company has opened a temporary “pop-up” location at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City outside of Washington, D.C. That store, which opened in March, was “wildly successful,” and the mall asked the company to stay on as a permanent tenant.
The success fostered the retailer’s idea of a physical store expansion. Two new stores are slated to open in Chicago in August and Columbus, OH, in September.
Eloquii won’t ditch its online roots, however. The Dispatch notes that the retailer will incorporate many of its online elements into stores.
For instance, stylists will be on hand to show customers what looks will work best for them, and if some items are available in store, the associates will use iPads to order the products with two-day free shipping to customers’ homes.
The company says that it will further customize stores by region as they open, but don’t expect the retailer to undergo a quick or widespread expansion into malls.
Eloquii isn’t the first retailer to head offline in pursuit of serving customers. Just last week, online consignment and thrift store ThredUP announced plans to open several bricks-and-mortar stores.
by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist