Express opens first of 30 planned factory outlets

Express has opened its first outlet store at the Tanger Outlets outside Washington, D.C. The new format is the first of 30 outlet locations planned for this year.

The outlet store offers both women's and men's apparel and fashion accessories at so-called factory prices. Express says the new outlet stores will help the company reach a new price-sensitive customer base.

Additional outlet stores are planned for Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas and New York. Express operates roughly 630 mall-based stores.

Outlet stores represent a growth opportunity for Express. "We are particularly excited about our outlet initiative, which represents a new format for Express," said Michael Weiss, the chairman and CEO. "I'm very optimistic about this new part of our business and the associated growth potential."

"Factory outlets are an important growth initiative for Express, offering us a unique opportunity to acquire new customers by offering great fashion and quality at an amazing value," said Andrew Buck, VP and general manager of outlets for Express.

The factory outlet concept is intended to help Express refocus on its core shopper: fashion-conscious, yet price-sensitive 20-somethings. In March, Express debuted a flashy new flaghip store in Manhattan's Times Square. The location features interactive iPads, mobile POS, on-site charging stations and LED walls housed in three stories. "It's Express on steroids," said Weiss.

Many retailers are experimenting with new formats as a way to attract in-store shoppers. Several merchants have introduced new formats over the past few months. DSW (NYSE:DSW) known for its massive, warehouse-style shoe outlets, is experimenting with more small-format stores. The company plans to build 34 new small-format stores in fiscal 2014.

Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK) also recently opened its first bricks-and-mortar store, which features several high-tech investments as part of an "innovation lab" to improve the retailer's omnichannel strategy. A station inside the store houses eight iPads where shoppers can order out-of-stock items online and ship them free of charge.

For more:
-See this Express press release

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