- Burlington’s roots go back to 1924 when the Company was founded as a wholesaler of ladies coats and junior suits. In 1972, Burlington started its retailing business, opening its first Burlington Coat Factory store in Burlington, NJ. The Company’s initial strategy was to offer a broad range of first-quality, branded outerwear for the family, with prices substantially below department store retail prices on similar merchandise. First year Company sales were $1.5 million.
- The Company opened 29 additional stores during this time period.
- New merchandise categories were added, including Ladies Sportswear, Men’s Active, Tailored Clothing, and Children’s apparel. By 1982 the Company exceeded $130 million in annual sales.
1983 - 1985
- Burlington Coat Factory became a public company for the first time with an IPO in June 1983. The Company operated 31 stores at the time of the IPO, and with the capital raised proceeded to double its store count to 68 stores by 1985.
1986 - 1989
- By the end of the 1980s, the Company operated 134 stores in 37 states, with net sales over $600 million.
- Burlington opened its first two stores on the West Coast during this time period, including one store in San Francisco and one store in San Jose.
1990 - 2005
- In 1999, Burlington launched its ecommerce website, giving the Company its first online presence.
- By 2005, the Company operated 362 stores in 42 states, with $3.2 billion in annual sales.
- Burlington was acquired by Bain Capital. At that time, the Company operated 368 stores and generated $3.4 billion in annual sales.
- Thomas Kingsbury was hired as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company.
- Fred Hand, currently Chief Customer Officer and Principal, joined the Company.
- Burlington clarified its strategy and value proposition as a pure off-price retailer, and adjusted its approach to its merchandising, supply chain and real estate site selection strategies accordingly.
- Management solidified its new strategic foundation during this time period as a multi-category off-price retailer and embarked on the Company’s mission to reduce comparable store inventories, accelerate new store openings in a smaller store footprint, significantly increase its merchandising headcount, and grow key underdeveloped categories, e.g., Home and Ladies Apparel.
- Opened the 500th store in 2012.
- Burlington became a public company for the second time with an IPO at $17 per share in October. At the end of this year, the Company operated 521 stores and generated $4.4 billion in annual sales.
2014 – 2016
- The Company rebranded the chain -- from Burlington Coat Factory to Burlington Stores, in order to communicate that Burlington is “more than just coats.”
- Surpassed $5 billion in sales in 2015.
- Hired Chief Merchandising Officer Jennifer Vecchio in 2015, joining Burlington with 14 years of leadership and merchandising experience in the off-price sector.
- Developed a more targeted data driven real estate location strategy in 2015, identifying a sufficient number of intersections (“seed points”) with attractive customer demographics to be able to potentially operate 1000 stores over time.
2017 - 2020
- Surpassed $6 billion in sales in 2017, $6.6 billion in 2018 and $7.3 billion in 2019.
- Based on confidence in the “seed point” store location strategy, the Company accelerated new store openings from 25 net new stores in 2016, to 37 in 2017, 46 in 2018, 52 in 2019 and announced plans to open 54 in 2020.
- In order to improve the customer shopping experience and increase store productivity, the Company increased the pace of remodel activity, as well as the relocation and closure of older, larger square footage stores.
- With the increased pace of remodel and new store activity, Burlington is significantly increasing the number of stores in our “brand standard”, i.e., new and remodeled stores that are in a smaller footprint. At the end of fiscal 2018, over 50% of our stores were in our brand standard, with over 60% in our brand standard at the end of fiscal 2019.
- In 2017, 2018 and 2019 alone, between new stores and remodel activity, Burlington added 293 stores to the Company’s “brand standard”. The planned new store and remodel activity for 2020 should translate to nearly 400 stores added to the brand standard between 2017 and 2020.
- For the first time in the Company’s history, Burlington’s average new store size in 2017 was below 50,000 gross square feet. The Company opened new stores at an average of 45,000 square feet in 2017, 43,000 square feet in 2018, 42,000 square feet in 2019 and a planned average of less than 40,000 square feet in 2020.
- Michael O’Sullivan, formerly President and Chief Operating Officer of Ross Stores, joined the Company in September 2019 as Chief Executive Officer. Thomas Kingsbury stepped down as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and became Executive Chairman.
- Jennifer Vecchio, formerly Chief Merchandising Officer and Principal, was promoted to President and Chief Merchandising Officer in April 2019. John Crimmins, formerly Executive Vice President Finance, was elevated to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in October 2019.
- Thomas Kingsbury retired as Executive Chairman on February 1, 2020.