The baubles have been a big hit for Alex and Ani.
The Rhode Island-based company known for its start selling an array of bangles adorned with different themed charms — ranging from the zodiac to specific sports and words of wisdom — has hit the fast-forward button on its growth.
The company expects to open 27 new stores in North America by the end of this year, which would bring its total door count to 90 by year-end, according to its senior vice president of sales Daniel Sills. The majority of those stores will be company owned.
Included in that batch are a number of new markets for Alex and Ani which, to date, has mainly grown its stores on the East Coast.
It enters the Southern California market in the fall with a store at Fashion Island and the other at the Irvine Spectrum Center, both located in Orange County and owned by Newport Beach-based real estate firm Irvine Co. Other new markets set to see an Alex and Ani include the company’s first in Chicago, Ohio and Wisconsin, along with more stores in Texas. Hawaii will see a second door in January.
“We realized that the customer wants the full Alex and Ani experience as we continued to expand in new jewelry categories outside of bracelets,” Sills told WWD of what’s driving the desire to grow the store count. “We want to make sure we can bring the full product offering to the consumer and then [we were] also seeing the success of the stores.”
The growth, which is self funded, represents a ramp up from last year’s roughly 20 doors opened and the company will continue on with openings at a rate of about 25 to 30 stores annually, according to Sills. The sweet spot for real estate calls for stores of around 1,000 square feet.
Alex and Ani also has a wholesale business where its product is sold in about 1,500 stores mostly in the U.S., including at select Bloomingdale’s and Lord and Taylor along with jewelry and gift shops.
Alex and Ani was started in 2004 by Carolyn Rafaelian, who helms the company as chief executive officer and chief creative officer. She clocked in at number 22 in the Forbes list of America’s richest self-made women this year with a net worth of $700 million.
Longer term, the chain can likely support somewhere in the realm of 150 to 200 stores in North America, Sills said. “Outside the U.S., we think there’s a ton of potential,” he added.
There is also e-commerce, which accounted for about 25 percent of the company’s overall sales last year. And Alex and Ani, which sees itself as a digital enterprise, continues to focus on omnichannel, Sills said. It’s in the process of updating the web site.
Alex and Ani capped 2015 with revenue of roughly $350 million, with a slate of new product set to be released in September.