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Doubling Fleet to 500 Stores ‘Absolutely’ Possible, Boot Barn CEO Says

While other retailers have struggled to simply stay afloat, it appears Boot Barn may have cracked the code for retail success heading into 2020.

Boot Barn can “absolutely” double its store count, CEO James Conroy said in an interview with CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Kramer Friday, pointing to western wear’s growing popularity. The Irvine, Calif.-based operates 250 stores today in every region except the northeastern United States.

“We’ve mapped out the whole country, state by state, and we’ve gotten to a number of exactly 250—doubling to 500,” Conroy told Kramer. “So we think we can double the store count. We’re soon to be in Pennsylvania, so we’re getting closer and closer to New York, and hopefully, we’ll have investors going.”

Next year, Boot Barn is projected to launch 40 new stores and in the most recent quarter, the retailer opened up a net of eight locations to bolster its fleet. Boot Barn’s success in the face of so many other closures stems from its ability to control “store-preferred” purchases that are largely insulated from online competition, Conroy said.

“We really focus on driving store traffic,” Conroy said. “A guy on a job site needs this boot to get back to work that day, so he can’t wait for it to be shipped to him typically. But so far Amazon carries many of the products that we carry, but they’ve done that for years and we continue to see growth in both channels.”

Last quarter, Boot Barn saw net sales increase by 11.3 percent to $187.2 million, with same-store sales climbing 7.8 percent for the tenth consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales. E-commerce same-store sales were also up by 8 percent in the most recent quarter.

Broad-based strength across “virtually all categories and geographies,” along with increased full-priced selling and a “sharp increase” in exclusive brand penetration drove the retailer’s success in the quarter, positioning Boot Barn to succeed throughout the holiday season, Conroy said in an earnings statement.

As the western trend continues to develop, perhaps best emulated by denim brands like Levi’s and Wrangler, Boot Barn stores are well positioned to handle the new business no matter which demographic is searching for Boot Barn products, which Conroy described as both “functional” and  “practical.”

“We’ve said in the past that this is a massive retail opportunity that’s been hidden in plain sight for years,” Conroy said. “It’s hard to understand when you’re in Manhattan or when you’re in Los Angeles, but when you fly across the country you look down and you’re looking at our customer.”