Aiming to bring the excitement of Cabela's to smaller, underserved markets, the retailer will debut its new Outpost store format this fall with a planned store opening in Union Gap, WA. Targeted at markets with 250,000 people or less, the 40,000-square-foot Outpost stores "will be designed to have an innovative, flexible floor plan, which will provide our customers an ever-changing visual look at the center core of the store, complemented by a revolutionary digital signage concept," said Cabela's CEO Thomas Millner during a recent conference call.
The merchandise at these small-format stores will include a higher concentration of Cabela's branded products, but in-store kiosks will give customers access to the retailer's full product line via its website. In addition, customers can take advantage of free shipping to the Outpost stores, using them as pickup locations for their online purchases.
The Outpost stores will be located in the Western U.S. and Canada, in smaller markets with high concentrations of hunters, fishers and campers. "If there even is a competitor in a market like that, they typically are not very sophisticated. There is no seasonal role of merchandise. You kind of see the same thing you see every time you go in," said Millner.
In contrast, Cabela's will be able to change the center part of its Outpost stores four times per year: "So early spring, late spring, early fall, late fall, the customer gets a constantly changing exciting new look," said Millner. "And setting that off is a really unique digital signage program. It's all designed to create that Cabela's retail experience in a smaller market."
Cabela's first became known for expansive stores featuring attractions such as indoor waterfalls and shooting galleries, but the retailer has been seeing stronger sales per square foot in its next-generation stores, first introduced in 2009 and built on a smaller footprint. In addition to the Outpost store, Cabela's will open five next-generation stores in 2012, four in the U.S. and one in Canada. "Looking forward to 2013, we expect to open six next-generation stores in the U.S., and as many as three Outpost stores," said Millner.
For related content: Smaller-Format Stores' Success Prompts Cabela's Expansion Plans