4500 Perkiomen Avenue, Reading, Pa. 19606
Kenneth Lakin, chairman/CEO, Boscov's Department Store, LLC
Annual Sales (CE and majaps only): $120 million
Number of Stores: 39
Product Mix: Full-line retailer with consumer electronics and major appliances
Reading, Pa.— While most of its peers within the department store channel have long since conceded the white and brown goods businesses to specialty chains and home improvement centers, 92-year-old Boscov's not only survives but thrives in those categories.
Russian immigrant Solomon Boscov founded the billion-dollar chain here in 1911 as a corner dry goods store. Since then, his son Albert and son-in-law Edwin Lakin (chairman and president, respectively, of parent company Boscov's, Inc.), have built the family business into the largest privately-owned independent department store in the country, with 39 locations throughout Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Along the way, the retailer has "experienced dramatic growth in major appliances and electronics, while achieving significant market share," the company said in a statement, prompting its addition to the NATM Buying Corp. last spring in a channel first.
The numbers bear them out. According to the latest TWICE Top 100 Retailers listings, Boscov's ranked 73rd in CE with sales of $79 million, and No. 30 in majaps, with revenue of $41 million last year, putting them ahead of such majap stalwarts as Fry's and fellow NATM member Cowboy Maloney.
According to senior VP/marketing Maralyn Lakin, remaining committed to majaps and CE has helped keep consumers committed to Boscov's. "Traditional department stores have walked away from many businesses," Lakin observed, "but we believe that if you offer the customer everything they need at the best value, with an easy shopping experience, great service and a wide assortment, they won't need to go anywhere else."
Lakin said the company remains competitive with its specialty chain rivals thanks to its "very aggressive buyers. They work very closely with vendors to get the best deals, and are always looking for great opportunities to pass on to customers."
"If we're not the lowest on price," she said, "we'll meet the competition."