Midwestern shoppers head to Gordmans Stores for deeply-discounted fashionable apparel and home décor. The department store chain operates more than 75 stores in various regional shopping centers in 17 mostly Midwestern states. The stores specialize in selling women's, men's, and junior's apparel, accessories, footwear, and home décor items at up to 60% off regular department and specialty store prices (known as off-price). Gordmans competes in the off-price market of the retail industry and also separates itself from discount stores by offering brand-name fashions and a more upscale shopping environment. The discount department store chain is run by CEO Jeff Gordman, grandson of founder Dan Gordman.
In the two years since it went public, Gordmans Stores' sales increased by about 20%: to about $551 million in fiscal 2012 (ends January) from $457 million in 2010. Net income jumped more than 61% in fiscal 2012 vs. the prior year. The sales increase was driven by the addition of six new stores, including several in the Chicago area. Money from the company's 2010 IPO is fueling the expansion. Indeed, Gordmans plans to increase its store count by about 10% annually. In the near term, the retailer plans to focus its expansion within a 1,000 mile radius of its Omaha headquarters. Ultimately, Gordmans believes this area can support an additional 150 stores.
The IPO raised about $59 million. Following the offering Sun Gordmans, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, controls about 69% of Gordmans' voting power. (Sun Capital acquired Gordmans Stores' parent company Gordmans Inc. in September 2008.)
Off-price retailing is a popular and growing niche, especially as the economy limps along and shoppers look to stretch a buck. As such, Gordmans has plenty competition. The company's rivals include regional and national department stores (Macys, Dillards), specialty stores (Old Navy), discount stores (Target, Wal-Mart), and other off-price retail chains (T.J. Maxx, Ross Stores). Indeed, many Gordmans stores are situated within one mile of competitors, such as Kohls and Wal-Mart. To compete Gordmans' strategy is to differentiate itself from each of these formats by offering name brands, a more upscale shopping experience, and operating larger, better organized stores. Some of its big name brands come from licensing agreements with DSW and Destination Maternity, which supply footwear and Motherhood Maternity brand clothing, respectively. Gordmans depends on such agreements for its brand name inventory, and it continually seeks out buying opportunities from existing and new suppliers to replenish stores with fresh, attractively priced merchandise. With apparel generating the majority of its revenues, the company primarily targets 25- to 49-year-old female shoppers, including middle-class women and juniors. – less