The outlet mall capital of Reading, Pennsylvania, has conceived more than bargain shopping. It's given us Boscov's Department Store, which operates 40-plus stores that anchor malls mainly in Pennsylvania and five other mid-Atlantic states. The stores sell men's, women's, and children's apparel, shoes, and accessories, as well as jewelry, cosmetics, housewares, appliances, and sporting goods. Some house optical centers and travel agencies, and also provide catering and appliance repair services. Boscov's also operates an online store. Founded by Solomon Boscov in 1911, Boscov's Department Store is owned by an investor group led by chairman and CEO Albert Boscov, which purchased the business out of bankruptcy in 2009.
Boscov's was spared liquidation when a bankruptcy judge approved the $300 million sale of the business to the families of Albert Boscov and Edwin Lakin, the son and the son-in-law of the privately-held company's founder. Funding for the chain's rescue was provided in part by community banks that used funds from the U.S. Treasury's Capital Purchase Program (part of the Troubled Assets Relief Programs, better known as TARP), which shored up banks by purchasing preferred stock in them.
Pennsylvania is the department store chain's largest market, home to two dozen of its 43 stores. New Jersey hosts eight stores, with Delaware, Maryland, and New York each home to several locations. Ohio, where Boscov's opened its first store in 2013, is the company's newest market.
Sales and Marketing
Aside from its stores, Boscov's sells its products online.
Boscov's Travel, with nearly 20 locations in Boscov's stores and on the Web, specializes in leisure and business travel, and offers customized travel arrangements for groups, conventions, and meetings.
With $1.2 billion in annual sales, Boscov's, along with Belk and Dillard's, is one of the nation's largest family-owned department store chains.
The regional department store operator is back in growth mode after shrinking its portfolio of 50 stores to about 40 following an ill-timed expansion coupled with the deep recession. Now, with the aid of technology, the retailer is opening new stores in existing and new markets, such as Ohio in 2013. A streamlined distribution process that features automated high-speed sorting, scanning and control systems, and additional dock doors has reduced the need for more warehouse space. The chain has cut distribution costs by nearly 10%, while increasing throughput by 25% with no additional headcount.