The destination for moms-to-be may be a store operated by Destination Maternity, a designer and seller of mid-priced to high-end maternity apparel. Its three chains (A Pea in the Pod, Destination Maternity, and Motherhood Maternity) occupy more than 2,000 retail locations, including more than 650 company-owned sites and about 1,400 leased spaces in department and specialty stores (Boscov's, Macys) in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The company is also the exclusive supplier of maternity apparel to more than 1,100 Kohl's stores nationwide. Most of its merchandise is designed by the company and made by third-party contractors. The company was founded in 1982 as Mothers Work.
The deep recession, high unemployment, and continued economic uncertainty have conspired to hold down birthrates and prompted some expectant women to borrow, rather than buy new, maternity clothes. As a result, Destination Maternity has suffered sales declines in three of the past four years. In fiscal 2011 (ends September) net sales grew by more than 2%, but were still about 6% below fiscal 2007 levels. (Same-store sales have been negative or flat for the past five years.) As a result, the retailer has aggressively closed stores, shuttering about 235 underperforming locations since fiscal 2005.
While reducing the number of company-owned stores, Destination Maternity has expanded its leased presence. The number of leased departments in Macy's stores increased from 115 locations to more than 630 department stores throughout the US in 2011. The growth at Macy's helped to offset the decline resulting from the closing of its leased departments in about 290 Kmart stores during the year.
Outside the US, Destination Maternity has about 35 Motherhood Maternity stores and an online presence in Canada. The company has been developing its presence outside North America through three international franchise agreements to get a foot in the door in the Middle East and in South Korea. It's most focused on India, though, in 2012. Destination Maternity opened its first freestanding store near Delhi with franchise partner Mahindra Retail, which has helped the US maternity retailer grow its shop-in-shop presence through its Mom & Me stores to more than 75 locations.
Wellington Management Company owns more than 10% of the company's shares.
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