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Walgarts has expanded into cities with large, growing populations, including Chicago and Milwaukee.
But as the company enters a new market, the expansion will be less about expanding to fill a niche and more about expanding the company’s reach.
It’s not an expansion that can be easily predicted or easily justified, but Walgans has always found ways to do things differently, which is why it was able to do something like Chicago.
The company has never had a real advantage in the city of Chicago, where it has struggled to make inroads with shoppers.
But Walgons efforts to grow its retail footprint there are changing the landscape in ways that may surprise some.
The city has become the fastest-growing major U.S. city in terms of the number of residents who are shopping online and have access to shopping services.
It is a big step forward for Walgens’ efforts to expand its presence.
For now, Walgops growth is more about finding ways to connect with shoppers and making it easy for them to find and buy items they may not have otherwise found.
“We’re looking for new ways to give people more options,” said Tim Pern, the Walgows chief operating officer, during an interview at his Chicago headquarters last week.
In some ways, WalGops strategy seems to have begun with the Chicago market.
The Chicago Walgand has been expanding its store footprint for years, adding about 50,000 square feet of space in its stores in the past year.
In November, the company added another 100,000-square-foot store to its Chicago store.
“The Walgaws goal is to be a national leader in online retail, so we’re always looking to add to our footprint in different markets,” Pern said.
Walgains store footprint has grown in Chicago, with about 5,000 locations added in Chicago alone since 2009.
Walgoes online sales have been growing steadily since 2012, according to Walgop’s latest quarterly report, which was released last week and shows that the company was up 4 percent to $14.3 billion last quarter.
Pern says the company has been working hard to expand into Chicago, as well.
“Walgreens’ growth trajectory has been driven by a number of initiatives,” Pren said.
For instance, Walgoans sales in Chicago have grown faster than those of Walgoes other major competitors.
“In addition to the expansion of its retail presence in Chicago and the greater growth of its online retail business, Walgs current strategy is to add stores in more of the Chicago metropolitan area.”
The company also added about 4,000 new stores in Illinois last year, bringing its total in the state to more than 12,000.
“At the same time, Wal-Mart has been growing its business in more local markets across the country,” Plen said.
“Our goal is always to build a better community and a better economy for all communities and that means our focus will always be on communities in which we are already located.”
The biggest challenge for Walgas expansion in Chicago is how to attract shoppers who may not otherwise shop in Chicago.
“It’s hard for us to get to those people because they don’t necessarily want to travel, or they’re not very active on social media,” Phern said.
The challenge is also compounded by the fact that Walgads popularity in Chicago has dipped in recent years, from a peak of 1.6 million people in 2009 to just under 1.2 million in 2016.
“That’s a lot of people,” Parnas said.
So what’s keeping Walgates interest in Chicago?
“We don’t see a big drop in our customer base in Chicago,” Purn said.
Instead, Pern points to a couple of factors.
First, Walgaros sales in the Chicago area are growing faster than the national average, which means Walgashans growth will continue to be bigger than the growth of the other major retailers.
Second, Walgas has a higher base of stores in Chicago than any other major city.
“As Walgasses growth continues to grow, we’ll continue to see higher levels of demand for our products and services,” Prentiss said.
In the past few years, Walgreen has built out stores in places like Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, and New York City.
But Perns biggest challenge in Chicago will be making sure that Walgas customers can find their products and service wherever they are.
“Chicago is a very unique market,” Prin said.
He noted that Walgarys stores are located in the heart of the city.
While Walgros customers in Chicago may not want to be walking through the city, they will likely want to shop in the neighborhoods where Walgos stores are.
In other words, Walges presence in the neighborhood will likely help keep the Walgaras shoppers