Sierra Trading Post is counting on you trading in your hard-earned cash for a pair of waterproof hiking boots or a brand new wetsuit. The retailer sells discounted men's and women's brand-name apparel, outdoor gear, footwear, and home decor through several catalogs, a website, and a handful of retail outlets in Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. It buys overstock and closeout items from about 1,000 manufacturers that represent more than 3,000 brands, including Columbia, The North Face, Timberland, ECCO, Dr. Martens, and Birkenstock. It sells products at up to 70% off the original retail price. Founded in 1986 by Keith Richardson, Sierra Trading Post has been owned by off-price retail giant The TJX Companies since 2012.
Change in Company Type
To bolster its operations, Massachusetts-based TJX bought Sierra Trading Post in late 2012 for nearly $200 million. As part of the deal, TJX acquired Sierra Trading Post's four outlet stores, office, fulfillment center, and photography studios in Cheyenne, Wyoming, as well as its customer call centers in Cheyenne and Cody, Wyoming.
Based in Wyoming, Sierra Trading Post operates a technology campus in Colorado and discount stores in Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming. Altogether, its facilities comprise more than 500,000 sq. ft., with 40 acres set aside for expansion.
Sierra Trading Post operates as part of TJX's Marmaxx segment, which contributed some 65% of the parent company's revenue in 2013.
Sierra Trading post packages and ships all of its orders from its Cheyenne retail store, which in 2013 shipped more than 2.75 million orders or 11.3 million merchandise pieces.
The company serves customer requests through Wyoming-based call centers (one each in Cheyenne and Cody), which are staffed by 150 customer service agents who handle nearly 100,000 emails, phone calls, and social media contacts each month. In 2013, this group handled 1.16 million emails, calls, and chats.
Sierra Trading Post, which fulfills 9,000-plus orders daily, specializes in buying overstocks, closeouts, and seconds under thousands of brand names.
Parent TJX aims to extend the reach of Sierra Trading Post's brick-and-mortar business. One new store will be in Fort Collins, Colorado, where the company maintains a technology campus (to ease some employee's commutes to the headquarters office in Cheyenne and draw top tech talent from Colorado).
It's also launching e-commerce sites for the brands owned by its parent company. During Q3 2014, TJX launched its new e-commerce site: tjmaxx.com.
To boost revenues, the company has focused on expanding the number of countries it ships to. To this end, it doubled its total count to more than 90 countries worldwide. Also, thanks to feedback from its fans, the company enabled its Facebook page to accept e-commerce transactions in 2011.
Sales and Marketing
The top-100 Internet retailer markets itself as "Great Deals. Great Brands." Through affiliate programs, Sierra Trading Post is able to boost its customer base.
Through its Action! STPLive interactive video program, which was launched in 2013, the company spotlights outdoor sports that fans can watch and Tweet with them.
Sierra Trading Post is part of TJX's Marmaxx segment, which in fiscal 2014 logged 5% increases. Rising average ticket price helped the segment post another consecutive year of increases in same-store sales (up 3% in 2014 following 2013's 6%). The company points to severe winter weather across many regions, as well as a boost in sales of apparel, jewelry, and accessories, for the continued net sales gains. Specifically, the strongest same-store sales came from Florida and the West Coast.