Chico's FAS wants to color coordinate its customers with its own brands of chic clothes. Once a Mexican folk art shop, Chico's owns and operates more than 1,550 specialty stores nationwide, in Canada, and now Mexico (through a franchise agreement). Its stores are mostly located in enclosed malls and shopping centers under the banners Chico's, White House/Black Market (WH/BM), Soma, and Boston Proper. The boutiques target middle-to-high-income women ages 30 and up with clothes made primarily from natural fabrics (cotton, linen, silk). Its casual wear includes tops, pants, shorts, skirts, and dresses, as well as jewelry and accessories.
While Chico's rings up almost all of its sales in the US, the fast-growing chain operates several White House/Black stores in Canada (a new market for Chico's). The chain's largest US markets are California, Florida, and Texas, which combined are home to about a quarter of its stores.
Chico's portfolio consists of four brands: Chico's (about 735 boutique and outlet stores); White House/Black Market (WH/BM) with some 500 locations; some 280 Soma stores that sell intimate apparel; and its newest online and catalog brand Boston Proper (acquired in 2011). Together, Chico's and Soma account for nearly two-thirds of the retailer's total sales.
Sales and Marketing
To drive traffic to its stores and websites Chico's relies on national print and broadcast campaigns, email and direct marketing, social media (Facebook and Twitter) and other outreach programs. It also utilizes loyalty programs to retain customers. The company spent more than $153 million on advertising and promotions in fiscal 2015 (ended January), up from $152 million the prior year.
The company reported $2.7 billion in revenue for fiscal 2015. That was an increase of $89 million compared to the prior fiscal period. Chico's net income was $64 million in fiscal 2015, which was $1 million less than the company cleared in fiscal 2014.
Following a rough patch during the deep recession and steep drop off in women's clothing sales, the retailer has worked hard to revive its Chico's brand stores by improving customer service and merchandise.
Canada is a relatively new market for the company. Beyond physical stores, the company is taking a multichannel approach to growth, investing in website functionality to improve the online shopping experience.
Chico's was founded in 1983 by ex-chairman Marvin Gralnick and wife Helene.