Chico’s announces reopening plan, rolls out new shopping experience

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New Chico's store in Lee County. (Credit: WINK News)
New Chico’s store in Lee County. (Credit: WINK News)

One of Southwest Florida’s most prominent local businesses is getting ready to reopen.

Chico’s says it will do this in three phases starting next week and they’re rolling out a whole new shopping experience to adapt to these changing times.

In late January, Chico’s management and employees were all smiles, cutting the ribbon to celebrate the opening of three new stores at Daniels and Six Mile Cypress Parkways: Chico’s, Soma and White House/Black Market.

“We’re focused on the product and the experience and the marketing and we’re already starting to reap the benefits of that,” said CEO Bonnie Brooks

Then, the pandemic hit and the company, which at the start of 2019 employed more than 1,100 people locally, laid off a large number of people and reduced the pay of the rest who remained on the job.

Now, Chico’s is among the first retailers to announce a reopening plan.

Starting Monday, the company will fulfill national orders using store inventories. Then, they will encourage customers to buy online and pick up in store, which will include contactless, curbside pickup. Lastly, they’ll implement a new shop by appointment service.

“Our culture of agility and our ability to grow sales while reducing expenses…has already served us well during this period,” Brooks said.

She says while stores have been closed, digital sales have seen double-digit growth driven by intimate apparel, sleepwear and activewear.

Chico’s says store openings will depend on local health and safety guidelines and regulations.

Employees will manage the number of customers in stores, provide hand sanitizer and masks and create new flexible distance between clothing racks.

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