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Placer.ai Spotlight: Boot Barn’s Successful Offline Expansion

by 
R.J. Hottovy
 on 
June 23, 2022
Placer.ai Spotlight: Boot Barn’s Successful Offline Expansion

Boot Barn, a western-focused shoe and lifestyle chain, has been one of the most successful retailers in the apparel and footwear space in recent years. We dove into the data  to analyze its 2022 performance and see how the brand’s  expansion is affecting its  foot traffic. 

Boot Barn Exceeding Expectations

The footwear industry demonstrated surprising resilience over the pandemic, and Boot Barn is one of the best examples of this category’s success. Established in Huntington Beach, California, in 1978 as a destination for cowboy boots and other western-focused workwear, the company grew to 88 locations across the country by 2011, and since, has more than tripled its store fleet. 

In 2019, CEO Jim Conroy announced plans to double the brand’s store count over the next few years, and Boot Barn’s investments in its employees and stores has helped the company build brand loyalty and grow its customer base. And since the brand positions itself as a premiere western-style lifestyle brand as well as a shoe supplier, the rising demand for western clothing and accessories has also accelerated its growth. 

Following an initial expansion in southern and western states – Texas and California have by far the most locations – Boot Barn has now begun making inroads into the Midwest and Northeast, an expansion we've followed closely over the past few years.

Boot Barn’s success is particularly apparent when compared with overall apparel foot traffic trends. While inflation, supply chain woes, and the after-effects of the pandemic continue to hamper the wider apparel recovery, Boot Barn’s visits are skyrocketing. For example, May 2022 saw a 79.7% increase in visitors to Boot Barn as compared to the same period in 2019, while overall nationwide apparel visits were down by 9.9%. While many of these visits can be attributed to the brand’s expansion efforts, it also highlights how popular the chain is.  

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Expansion Efforts Paying Off

Boot Barn’s rapid expansion has not slowed in the face of rising inflation, and the brand’s impressive year-over-year visits (YoY) continue outperforming the broader apparel category by a wide margin. In May 2022, Boot Barn foot traffic was 21.4% higher than in May 2021, while May 2022 overall apparel visits were down 4.9% YoY.   

The company’s ability to attract customers even as the wider brick and mortar apparel category struggles demonstrates the chain’s success in appealing to a wide range of shoppers. By adding an expanded assortment of casual outdoor wear on top of its existing footwear offerings, the company has increased its total addressable market (TAM) – the overall revenue opportunity that is available if 100% market share is achieved – to $40 billion, double the estimated $20 billion TAM at the time of the company’s IPO in 2015. 

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Visits Per Venue Up are Up Too 

In addition to overall foot traffic increases and store fleet expansion, Boot Barn has seen strong YoY and year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) growth in its visits per venue. Between 2017 to 2019, the chain was averaging just over 15K quarterly visits per location. However, over the past five quarters, the chain has seen a huge increase in visits per location – May 2022 saw a 53% and 16% increase in Yo3Y and YoY visits, respectively. So not only is Boot Barn opening more stores – it is filling these new venues with eager shoppers. 

A number of consumer demographic shifts help explain this outperformance, including the increased demand for western wear. But this success can also be attributed to Boot Barn’s improved merchandise assortment focused on reaching a wider range of customers and aggressive store remodel program. 

With the popularity of western wear still increasing – whether inspired by the popular show, Yellowstone, or by viral TikTok trends along with Boot Barn’s rapidly increasing store count and impressive brand loyalty – the brand’s success seems to be here to stay.

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