Chico's Sells Classy, Dressy Clothes

by Brendan O'Reilly  on Monday, May. 21, 2001 12:00 am  

Owners: Marvin and Helene Gralnick
Address: 12800 Chenal Parkway #1, Little Rock, 72211
Phone: (501) 228-6623
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 12-5 p.m. Sunday
Start-up: May 4

Chico's, an upscale women's clothing store geared to women aged 30-55, opened May 4 on Chenal Parkway in west Little Rock.

The 3,300-SF store, one of 280 stores owned by Chico's FAS Inc. of Fort Myers, Fla. (NYSE: CHS), sells private-label casual and dressy clothing and accessories.

Store manager Brandi Lee said the store employs eight part-time and three full-time managers. But she is still searching for two full-time employees and four more part-time employees.

"In the first year, we're expecting revenue of at least $1.1 million," she said. "We offer a boutique atmosphere that is very customer service-oriented. So far business has been absolutely incredible."

Part of the reason for the immediate success, Lee said, is that Chico's customers are very loyal, and many of the store's current customers had been shopping at Chico's in Memphis, Tulsa, New Orleans and Dallas.

"We're the 40th state for the company and the first store in Arkansas. At the end of one year in business, I expect to have at least three full-time and 12 part-time employees, plus three full-time managers."

Lee, who formerly managed the Victoria's Secret store in Park Plaza, said the store's clothing ranges from silk suits, linen and cotton blends for business attire to items that can be worn by soccer moms.

"Accessories range from $20-$120, but the most expensive item in the store would probably be a silk jacket for $120."

To foster the boutique atmosphere, the dressing rooms lack mirrors so that store associates, who go through a 12-hour training program, can work their magic as wardrobe consultants and fully dress each customer.



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