Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse has two de facto mottos: "not affiliated with Burlington Industries" (thanks to a 1981 trademark-infringement lawsuit settlement) and "We sell more than coats." The company operates more than 475 no-frills retail stores (averaging 80,000 square feet) offering off-price current, brand-name clothing in about 45 states and Puerto Rico. Although it is one of the nation's largest coat sellers, the stores also offer children's apparel, bath items, furniture, gifts, jewelry, linens, and shoes. Sister chains include a pair of higher-priced Cohoes Fashions shops and about a dozen MJM Designer Shoe stores. Founded in 1972, Burlington is owned by affiliates of buyout firm Bain Capital.
Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Burlington Coat Factory Investment Holdings when its was taken private by affiliates of Bain Capital in 2006 for about $2.1 billion.
More than 99% of the company's sales are rung up at its Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse stores. Cohoes Fashions (off-price designer apparel), MJM Designer Shoe, and a single Super Baby Depot store in New Jersey account for the rest. As its name suggests, Super Baby Depot sells baby clothing, accessories, furniture, and everything else a baby might need in the middle to higher price range.
In fiscal 2012 (ends January) the company added 18 Burlington Coat Factory stores. The new stores helped boost sales by 5% vs. the previous year. Same-store-sales for the year crept up nearly 1%. The retailer attributed the rise to improved merchandise and its customer experience initiatives, partially offset by unseasonably warm temperatures during the holidays, which depressed coat sales. The rise in same-store-sales, while small, is an improvement over recent years during which the company struggled with negative same-store-sales comparisons due to weather and weak consumer demand. Despite the increase in sales, the company lost $6.3 million in fiscal 2012, after two prior profitable years. It blamed the loss primarily on costs associated with debt refinancing.
Burlington Coat Factory's (BCF) off-price niche has resonated with consumers looking for bargains in a tough economy. Still, the company is locked in a competitive battle with TJX Companies (T.J. Maxx and Marshalls) and Ross Stores, both of which are larger than it is. To grow, and ideally steal market share from its rivals, BCF is focusing on offering superior customer service and opening stores in high-traffic locations. It has added about 100 stores over the past five years and plans to open as many as 25 more in fiscal 2013. The chain is known for its year-round selection of about 10,000 to 20,000 discounted coats (compared to about 1,500 to 2,000 coats at department stores). The retailer takes less of a markup than its department store competition and has lower profit margins than other clothing retailers. It buys the coats early in the season (up to five months before department stores) to lock in lower prices. Unlike other off-price chains, it buys directly from manufacturers and does not rely on leftovers or closeouts. The company also sells merchandise online at burlingtoncoatfactory.com and babydepot.com. The company's MJM Designer Shoe chain has stores in New Jersey and New York and several other states. Like its larger sister chain, MJM Designer Shoes sells brand names at significant discounts.
Bain Capital owns about 97% of Burlington Coat Factory Warehouse's parent company Burlington Coat Factory Holdings. Management owns the rest. – less