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Ollie’s Coming To Lakewood Amid Expansion Push

Plan For Growth

Officials with Ollie’s confirmed Friday that the bargain outlet will open a location at the Chautauqua Mall. Ollie’s opened 46 stores in 2020, largely during the pandemic, while other retailers shed stores. P-J file photo

LAKEWOOD — Before the final 2020 holiday season sales rush, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet CEO John Swygert said the chain planned to expand in 2021.

The Chautauqua Mall will be one of those locations.

Ollie’s officials confirmed in response to a Post-Journal inquiry on Friday that the bargain outlet will open a location in Lakewood.

Swygert, speaking in December to investor analysts, said Ollie’s Bargain Outlet opened 46 stores in 2020 during a time when many retailers shed stores during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are laser-focused on expanding our retail footprint and we believe the extreme value proposition of our business model very much supports our growth plans. With tremendous runway for growth, we are excited about the availability of great real estate sites as we continue to build out our store pipeline,” Swygert said in announcing the store’s third quarter financial results.

Customers are pictured at the Ollie’s store during its grand opening in June 2018. File photo

“We see new stores as an important component of our long-term growth algorithm with a target of 50 stores to 55 stores per year. Our 2021 pipeline looks strong with a solid mix of both existing and new markets with expectations of 50 store openings, including up to four relocations,” he said.

Ollie’s currently has locations at 4000 Market St., Warren; 1170 Central Ave., Dunkirk; and 2072 Interchange Road, Erie. The store opened 23 new stores in the second half of 2020.

Its most recent additions in the region came in Hermitage, Pa., and Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Jay Stasz, Ollies senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the chain’s newest stores performed well financially out of the gate. He also said 2021 is a year that excites Ollies’ officials.

“I mean, you know, we’re excited about next year,” Stasz said. “I mean, there’s a lot of uncertainty,but we’ve proven, you know, in these first three quarters this year that we can operate in this environment effectively and do it very well. We expect there to be even more opportunity on deals on real estate. And obviously, right we don’t know what the consumer is going to do. But you know, where they’ve been spending their money, and you know, complements the departments we carry very well. We expect some of that to continue.Some of those will be trends that continue on we think. So, yeah, we’re excited about that.”

The mall space has been vacant since early in 2020 when Office Max closed.

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