Chico's (clothing retailer)

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Chico's FAS, Inc.
Public (NYSECHS)
Industry Retail
Founded 1983
Headquarters Fort Myers, FL, U.S.
Number of locations
624 boutique, 118 outlet
White House | Black Market:
451 boutique, 67 outlet stores
263 boutique, 17 outlet stores
Boston Proper:
17 boutiques
(November 2014) [1]
Area served
United States
Puerto Rico
U.S. Virgin Islands
Products Apparel and accessories
Revenue 2013 net sales of $2.6 billion.
2013 operating income of $142 million
$65.9 million [2013]
Number of employees
23,700 [2013]

Chico's is a retail women's clothing chain founded in 1983 by a three-person operation on Sanibel Island, Florida.


Chico’s FAS, Inc. is an American women’s clothing and accessories retailer. The company was founded by Marvin and Helene Gralnick and is headquartered in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Chico’s FAS operates three brands: its namesake Chico’s, White House | Black Market and Soma. The Company, through its 3 brands, is an omni-channel specialty retailer of women’s private branded, sophisticated, casual-to-dressy clothing, intimates, complementary accessories and other non-clothing items.[2][3] As of November 1, 2014, Chico’s FAS operated 1,557 women's clothing stores in the US and Canada and sold merchandise through franchise locations in Mexico.[1]


1972 - 1990[edit]

Founders Marvin and Helene Gralnick, met in 1972 while living in Guadalajara, Mexico. In 1983, they opened a tiny Mexican folk art gift shop in Periwinkle Place on Sanibel Island, Florida.[4] Helene named the shop Folk Art Specialties and then changed the name to Chico’s Folk Art Specialties after a friend’s pet parrot, Chico.[4] The store sold mostly art, but the sweaters in the store outsold everything else, so Chico’s Folk Art Specialties transformed into a clothing boutique.[2][4]

In 1985, Chico’s Folk Art Specialties opened a second boutique on Captiva Island, Florida. All early boutiques were infused with Mexican folk art combined with antiques and fixtures manufactured in Marvin’s in-house woodshop.[2][4]

In the beginning, Marvin and Helene would not close the store until they reached a certain amount of sales each day. They also could not afford to have bags printed, so the name was handwritten on each bag.[2]

The first franchise store opened in Edina, Minnesota in 1987. In 1989, the company shortened its name to Chico’s FAS (an abbreviation for Folk Art Specialties) and launched the Passport Loyalty Rewards program.[2]

1991 - 2000[edit]

In 1991, Chico’s FAS expanded into cities ranging from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Newport, Rhode Island. By 1992, the company operated 60 boutiques and began designing its own prints and patterns.[2]

Chico’s FAS went public in 1993 and began trading on NASDAQ under the title CHCS. It premiered its Most Amazing Personal Service (MAPS) customer service initiative in 1998. Between 1998 and 2000, Chico’s sales increased an average of 50 percent per year.[2][4]

In 1999, Chico’s FAS began online sales at in 1999. It also began advertising in national magazines, including Martha Stewart Living and Marie Claire.[2]

2001 - 2010[edit]

In 2001, the Chico’s FAS Founders building opened in Fort Myers, Florida, and Chico’s FAS debuted on the New York Stock Exchange.[2][4]

Chico’s FAS aired its first commercial in six major markets on the Today Show, Good Morning America, and The Oprah Winfrey Show, and on Martha Stewart Living.[2]

Average new store sales reached $1.45 million per year in 2003. The next year, Chico’s FAS acquired White House | Black Market, a women’s clothing company that focuses on white, black, and other variants of the two colors. Chico’s FAS also launched Soma, an intimate apparel boutique.[2]

In 2006, Chico’s FAS added 24 acres to the Fort Myers campus to support growth and stock reached a high of $49.40.[2]

2011 - present[edit]

In 2011, Chico’s FAS acquired Boston Proper, which is a brand available online or by catalog.[5] Two years later, Boston Proper opened its first boutique at Coconut Point in Estero, Florida.[2]

International Expansion[edit]

In 2013, Chico’s FAS expanded internationally by opening White House | Black Market stores in Canada.[6] On May 13, 2014, Chico’s FAS announced expansion of the Chico’s brand into Canada.[7] Three boutiques have since opened in Canada.[1] Further international expansion has occurred with its namesake Chico’s into Mexico in 2014. Through an exclusive franchise with El Puerto de Liverpool (“Liverpool”), Chico’s opened a stand-alone boutique at Perisur Mall, Mexico City. Plans for further Chico’s expansion into Mexico include more openings of stand-alone boutiques as well as branded shop-in-shops in Liverpool department stores.[7]

Chico's FAS Brands[edit]


Chico’s primarily sells private branded clothing for women, with a focus on jackets, statement jewelry and clothing with bold prints and patterns.[8] The brand has its own unique sizing that runs from 000-4.5.[9]

White House | Black Market[edit]

The White House | Black Market brand began in 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland and was acquired by Chico’s FAS in 2003.[10] It primarily offers exclusively designed, private label women’s clothing and accessory items with a "boutique feel".[clarification needed] Accessory items range from shoes to scarves to jewelry and belts.[11] The focus of each seasonal assortment ranges from everyday basics, to wear-to-work, to fashion in monochromatic black, white, and related shades with "seasonal color splashes".[12]


Soma was launched by Chico’s FAS in 2004.[2] The brand primarily sells lingerie, sleepwear and beauty products. The brand also offers dresses and loungewear. Lines with "slimming solutions" include loungewear, swimwear and corsetry.[13]

Boston Proper[edit]

Chico’s FAS acquired the Boston Proper brand in 2011.[2] Boston Proper is an online and catalog based retailer of women’s high-end apparel. In May 2013, Boston Proper announced that it’d be opening its first national boutiques throughout Florida.[14]


As of November 1, 2014, Chico’s FAS had 1,557 store locations. Stores are located in 48 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. As of November 1, 2014, the store breakdown per brand was as follows:[1]

  • Chico’s: 624 boutiques (3 in Canada); 118 outlets
  • White House | Black Market: 451 boutiques (5 in Canada); 67 outlets
  • Soma: 263 boutiques; 17 outlets
  • Boston Proper: 17 boutiques

Chico's Collections[edit]

So Slimming[edit]

In 2001, Chico’s introduced its So Slimming™ Collection in denim, a line that expanded to include pants, skirts, and dresses. The company developed a design technology they labeled Hidden Fit™, consisting of a hidden panel inside of the garments that supposedly resulted in a slimming effect for the stomach area of women’s silhouettes.[15]

Black Label[edit]

Black Label by Chico’s debuted in 2011. Intended as a luxury sub-brand underneath the Chico’s flag, the label embraced higher-end design elements such as leather trims, faux furs, and hand-applied details.[9] [15]


Chico’s Travelers pieces feature women’s apparel in an acetate-spandex fabric that was made to travel. [15]


Chico’s Zenergy line offers women’s active wear and loungewear such as pants, tees, jackets, and pullovers usually manufactured in a blend of cotton, polyester, and spandex.[15]

Zenergy Golf[edit]

Chico’s Zenergy Golf Collection was introduced in 2012 with polo tops, skorts, capri pants, and shorts intended as sportswear for golf and tennis. In 2014, the label improved line with breathable fabrics designed with UV protection.[16]


Since 2013, Chico’s expanded its offerings to include swimwear, a larger selection of footwear, as well as petite sizes.[15]

White House | Black Market Collections[edit]

Iconic Black & White[edit]

The Iconic Black & White Collection offers classic black and white women’s clothing options.[11]

White House | Black Market Shoes[edit]

White House | Black Market’s shoe collection is produced with breathable lining and a memory foam footbed. Shoe styles range from flip flops to flats, sandals and heels as well as pumps and boots.[11]


The WorkKit Collection offers women clothing pieces that can be worn in the workplace while transitioning to after-office activities. Items in the WorkKit Collection range from women’s business suits, skirts, jackets, dresses, pants and accessories.[11]

Instantly Slimming[edit]

White House | Black Market’s Instantly Slimming Collection is designed to make woman look slimmer.[11]

Saint Honoré Jeans[edit]

The Saint Honoré Jean Collection features a wide variety of jeans.[11]

Genius Collection[edit]

Soma Collections[edit]

Stunning Support[edit]

Soma’s Stunning Support Collection offers women with larger breast sizes 3-zone support that lifts, shapes, and is seamless.[17]


The Embraceable Collection features bras, panties and sleepwear.[17]


Easy-fitting loungewearg.[17]

Sensuous Sides[edit]

Soma’s Sensuous Sides Collection offers a "side-slimming" bra.[17]


Vanishing Collection features "back-smoothing" bras, and "stay-put technology shapewear"[clarification needed] and panties. This collection is lightweight.[17]

Advertising and Promotion[edit]

Chico’s FAS’ marketing program consists of several components including rewards programs, direct marketing activities including direct mail and email, digital marketing efforts, social marketing and outreach programs.[18][19]


In 1989, Chico’s FAS was listed in Inc. magazine’s 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in America. In 1993, Chico’s FAS placed 13th on the BusinessWeek’s list of the 100 Best Small Corporations.[2]

In 2001, Chico’s FAS earned a place on Fortune’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies, BusinessWeek’s 100 Best Small Companies, and the number one spot on Forbes’ 200 Best Small Companies.[20] The following year, Oprah named Chico’s Silver Ox Cuff Watch one of her “Favorite Things.” [21]

On April 20, 2005, the Bellwether Report identified the company and analysts began to track Chico’s FAS because of its significant corporate development during that time.[22]



The current leadership is:[23]

  • President and Chief Executive Officer, Director: Shelley Broader
  • Brand President – White House | Black Market: Donna M. Colaco
  • Brand President – Chico’s: Cynthia S. Murray
  • Brand President – Soma: Laurie Van Brunt
  • Executive Vice President – President, Digital Commerce and Chief Marketing Officer: Miki Racine Berardelli
  • Senior Vice President – Chief Financial Officer: Todd E. Vogenson
  • Executive Vice President – General Counsel and Secretary: A. Alexander “Sandy” Rhodes
  • Executive Vice President – Chief Human Resources Officer: Sara K. Stensrud
  • Senior Vice President – Chief Information Officer: Ann Joyce
  • Senior Vice President – Supply Chain Operation: Sean M. McCartney
  • Chief Accounting Officer and Vice President – Finance and Corporate Controller: David M. Oliver

Board of Directors[edit]

  • President, Chief Executive Officer & Director: Shelley Broader
  • Director and member of the Corporate Governance & Nominating Committee: Janice L. Fields
  • Director and Chairwoman of the Merchant Committee: Verna K. Gibson
  • Director and Chairman of the Compensation & Benefits Committee: John J. Mahoney
  • Director and Non-Executive Chairman of the Board & Executive Committee: Ross E. Roeder
  • Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee: David F. Walker
  • Director and member of the Audit & Compensation and Benefits Committees: Stephen E. Watson
  • Director & member of the Merchant and Compensation and Benefits Committees: Andrea M. Weiss



Chico’s FAS and its brands participate in organizations helping women’s and children’s health, well-being, and education. Chico’s FAS has done work with Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals).[25]

Living Beyond Breast Cancer is a national non-profit organization for women with breast cancer. They have raised almost $3 million for LBBC, which has helped bring support for almost 450,000 women.[25] In 2010 Chico’s FAS launched a campaign in support of breast cancer awareness month. Chico’s brand, White House | Black Market, and Soma sold exclusive, limited-edition collections with a percentage of the proceeds donated to the LBBC.[26] For their contribution and efforts, Chico’s FAS received the 2010 Corporate Leadership Award at LBBC’s annual Gala, The Butterfly Ball.[27]

In 2013, Chico’s FAS was a sponsor of the CMN Hospitals’ Champions Program. The program invited the champions and their families to spend the week at Walt Disney World, where they were able to meet the program’s sponsors and more. Chico’s FAS has announced that it will again be a sponsor for the Champions Program in 2014.[11][19][20]

In May 2014, Chico’s FAS announced the launch of its fourth May is for Miracles Campaign.[28] Part of this multi-faceted campaign, Chico’s brand and White House | Black Market sold exclusive, limited-edition necklaces for $20 each, with $10 from the sale going towards the campaign. Soma donated $1 for every Embraceable Pajama separate sold and Boston Proper donated 10% of its proceeds for any purchase from their Starburst Icon Collection to local CMN Hospitals throughout May. Chico’s FAS also hosted the Send a Smile Social Media Campaign where it asked users to help reach the goal to raise $50,000 local CMN Hospitals.[28] Send a Smile Campaign partnered with HelloWorld, a leader in rich engagement campaigns across mobile, social and web, to create a mobile-enable microsite that allowed users to create their own unique virtual card, free of charge. For every card created, Chico’s FAS donated $1 to the CMN Hospital of the user’s choice, and donated an additional $1 for every friend they invited on social media that created a card as well (combined up to $50,000).[19] [28]


As of January 2014, Chico’s FAS Inc was accused, by a Florida-based handbag designer, in a lawsuit of forcing the designer "to copy other designers’ creations."[29]


  1. ^ a b c d "Chico's FAS Inc Form 8-k" (PDF). 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Chico's FAS History". 
  3. ^ "CHS Key Statistics - Chico's FAS Inc Financial Ratios". 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "History of Chico's FAS". 
  5. ^ "Chico's FAS Inc. News - New York Times". 
  6. ^ "CANADA: Chico's WHBM embarks on international expansion". 
  7. ^ a b "Chico's FAS Announces International Expansion". 
  8. ^ "Chico's FAS Inc. - Our Brands". 
  9. ^ a b "How to Shop Chico's". 
  10. ^ "Chico's FAS, Inc. Completes the Acquisition of The White House, Inc.". 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "White House Black Market - Shop Women's Clothing Online". 
  12. ^ "WhiteHouseBlackMarket". 
  13. ^ "Soma". 
  14. ^ "Boston Proper Launching Stores - Chico's property planning aggressive expansion". 
  15. ^ a b c d e "Chico's - Women's Clothing & Accessories". 
  16. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ a b c d e "Soma - Women's Lingerie, Bras, Panties, & More". 
  18. ^ "Chico's FAS Inc. 2013 Annual Report" (PDF). 
  19. ^ a b c "Advertising and Promotion for Chico's FAS". 
  20. ^ a b "Retailers make the Forbes 200 best small companies list". 
  21. ^ "Oprah's Favorite Things". 
  22. ^ "Bellwether Report is looking at Chico's FAS Inc.". 
  23. ^ "Chico's FAS Inc. Management". 
  24. ^ "Chico's FAS Inc. Board of Directors". 
  25. ^ a b "Chico's begins May fundraiser". 
  26. ^ "Chico's FAS, Inc. Supports Living Beyond Breast Cancer". 
  27. ^ "Living Beyond Breast Cancer Presents the 2010 Corporate Leadership Award: Chico's FAS". 
  28. ^ a b c "Chico's FAS, Inc. Gives Back to Local Children and Families During May is For Miracles Campaign". 
  29. ^ Feitelberg, Rosemary (8 January 2014). "Suit Against Chico's Alleges Copying". WWD. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 

External links[edit]

Official website