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Under Armor, Gap and JCPenney Make Big Waves in Fulfillment News

This is part two in a two-part series. You can read part one here.

In part one of this two-part series on online apparel fulfillment news, we discussed some of the latest trends in online apparel fulfillment. In part two, we’re going to touch on the big names and headlines that may affect both retailers and consumers in the near future.

Under Armor Announces Giant Maryland Distribution Center

After an impressive second quarter revenue growth report of 28 percent, pushing revenues to $321 million, sports apparel manufacturer Under Armor has now announced plans to construct an Amazon-sized distribution center in Baltimore County, Maryland, expected to be completed in summer 2018. The 1.3 million square foot structure will equal the size of the largest eCommerce distribution center currently operated by an Internet Retailer Top 500 company.

The facility will employ approximately 1,000 people, as well as provide additional work for the FedEx ground shipping facility located in the same industrial park. This news comes on the tail of another big announcement that Under Armor will be taking over a 53,000 square foot building at the southeast corner of New York’s Central Park, once the home of FAO Schwartz.

Gap Distribution Center Fire at Fishkill, New York

Just months shy of the busiest shopping season of the year, Gap could hardly afford the loss of a distribution center—but that’s exactly what happened on August 29.

Fortunately, no one was hurt when the facility caught fire, but with falling sales in both Gap and Banana Republic stores last quarter, this was not a loss Gap will suffer lightly. Debbie Felix, a company spokesperson, told Business of Fashion that “we have contingency plans in place and are working across our North American network of distribution centers to continue to serve our customers.”

JCPenney Maximizes Omnichannel

Unlike other traditional retailers with a focus on apparel, JCPenney has found a way to make its stores a valuable part of its customer experience.

Instead of announcing a string of shop closures and retail employee layoffs, JCPenney found a way to marry their offline and online sales into an omnichannel maximizing machine. For example, in 2015 when a customer ordered online and went into a store to pick up their items, they’d make an additional purchase only about 20 percent of the time. Just a year later, that number has doubled to 40 percent—and continues to grow.

Although JCPenney isn’t a pure apparel retailer, the way it’s approaching omnichannel is a lesson that clothing retailers could be adding to their own playbooks. Keeping more SKUs in stock for same-day pick up, offering coupons for in-store purchases with its order collections and an improved and more intelligent smartphone app are just a few of the simple tricks this long-standing corporation has employed to stay relevant to today’s shoppers.

There’s always something valuable to learn from the competition when you’re in the apparel fulfillment business, whether they’re a clothing giant like Under Armor or the tiny start-up around the corner. As the holiday shopping season approaches, knowing what everyone else is planning can help you remain relevant in the hearts and minds of your customers.

November 08, 2016
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