West Marine plans aggressive expansion

WATSONVILLE, Calif. – If you think West Marine is big now, wait a few years. While the boat supply retailer reported earlier this month that it plans to add over 50 stores this year, the company now says it eventually will add 400, according to the San Jose Business Journal.

The retailer is hoping this expansion will help it solve inventory and sales concerns, the journal reported in an article earlier this month.

That expansion would double the number of West Marine stores, according to the journal. About 300 of the new stores are expected to be “express” – from 2,200 to 3,000 square feet, while the remaining 100 would be “traditional” – from 5,000 to 8,000 square feet.

In the meantime, the company is cutting its inventory by almost 10 percent – or $30 million – and changing its inventory mix to constantly surprise customers with new products, while continuing to offer what can be considered essential items, the journal reported.

West Marine also is working to reduce its debt, while preparing to put in place a new software system that would give customers access to 250,000 more products than the company does today. This will enable store employees to ship those products not in stock directly to customers.

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