Express will begin testing buy online pick up in store in select locations next month in an effort to better leverage its store locations.

Apparel retail chain Express Inc. is making a push to better leverage its stores as online order fulfillment centers.

Express, No. 102 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, reported that online sales were $90.0 million during the fiscal second quarter ended July 29, up 28.4% from $70.1 million during the same time last year. E-commerce accounted for 18.8% of sales compared with 13.9% in fiscal Q2 2016.

The retailer is rolling out initiatives aimed at fulfilling more of its online orders from stores, Express CEO David Kornberg told analysts on the retail chain’s Q2 earnings call last week.

Express will begin testing buy online pick up in store in an unspecified number of store locations next month. “I think that’s a big opportunity for us going forward, particularly with buy online pick up in store for us to be able to upsell,” Kornberg said on the call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. Shoppers will see buy online, pick up in store offered in a growing number of stores next year, he said.

The retailer also expanded the number of stores from which it ships online orders to 150 during the second quarter. Express in May began testing ship from store in 10 locations.

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“The initial results of the launch are encouraging, validating our future ability to leverage store inventories to maximize sales, drive inventory productivity and reduce markdowns,” Kornberg said, though he did not specify sales figures. “The contribution from ship from store will have a greater impact going forward and we will further expand it into 2018.”

For the fiscal second quarter ended July 29, Express reported:

  • Net sales of $478.5 million, down 5.2% from $504.8 million during the same time last year.
  • A comparable sales decline, including e-commerce, of 4%, compared with an 8% decline.
  • A net loss of $11.8 million, compared with a $10.1 million profit.

For the first six months of fiscal 2017, Express reported:

  • Net sales of $945.6 million, down 6.2% from $1.008 billion during the same time last year.
  • A net loss of $16.3 million, compared with a $23.0 million profit.
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