In yet another example of pivoting quickly to succeed during the COVID-19-challenged retail landscape, Tractor Supply Store implemented same-day and next-day delivery from 20% of its stores to 100% in just three weeks.
CEO Hal Lawton, who took the helm in January, cited the execution during a recent earnings call as one way the company is accelerating its capabilities to be more relevant to consumers.
“We realize this could become a point of differentiation for Tractor Supply,” he added, “and we move fast to capitalize on our customers’ needs for delivery.”
The lifestyle retailer expanded its three-year partnership with delivery service provider Roadie to bring same-day service of nearly all of its inventory from all 1,863 U.S. locations. While this strategy had already been in the works, the rapid escalation of the coronavirus health crisis fast-tracked implementation.
Roadie’s operations leverage a crowdsourcing model with over 150,000 verified drivers. Services are integrated into Tractor Supply’s e-commerce site and office systems, providing consumers with real-time tracking and status updates.
The company is also piloting several different models with Roadie at a subset of stores over the next two months, one of which replicates Roadie’s offerings with Tractor Supply’s own team members and branded vehicles.
Tractor Supply reported a net sales increase of 7.5% to $1.96 billion in the first quarter, with comp-store sales rising 4.3% vs. the 5% increase in the prior-year period. Gross profit increased 7.5% to $661.2 million.
Comp-store sales growth was primarily driven by consumable, usable and edible product categories, as well as solid demand for spring seasonal categories.
Despite the disrupted retail environment, the chain is still on track with its 2,500-store target, Lawton said, including its new store opening schedule for 2020. It opened 20 new Tractor Supply stores and closed one Del’s store in Q1.
“That said, given the practical realities created by the disruption of COVID-19, we believe there is potential for the timing of some of our new store openings to be delayed,” noted Kurt Barton, chief financial officer. “This could push some store openings to later in the year or even some into fiscal 2021.”
The company is also reprioritizing capital spend to accelerate such initiatives as buy-online-pickup-in-store, home delivery and contactless payments.
It’s also increased the number of mobile POS devices in its stores by 50% so that its associates can provide the necessary additional contactless fulfillment options.