“Between those two things, we are able to offer great value,” Shamosh says. “Our customers know us for having a great selection and great buys. Our customers don’t come here for cappuccinos. We have current fashion at great prices. We don’t want to be Bloomingdales or Barney’s. We want to service the customers in our area so they know when they come in here they can shop with confidence.”
When Shamosh says “here,” he’s referring to one of the 18 stores in Kid City’s family. The company operates stores in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and has its sights set on new locations within this tri-state area. It plans to open one store in the second quarter and is planning two other locations to open before year’s end. The growth comes after a season of strategizing in which store openings took a back seat and operational improvements moved to the forefront.
“Once we started getting into the mid-teens, we decided to redo the back end, so over the last three years we’ve been tightening up our back end and accounting for every dollar,” Shamosh says. “We are working on integrating our ERP solution with accounts payable to have a somewhat paperless back office. We came from working on Quickbooks and we had it at each location so each store was handling that function themselves. Now it’s centrally managed and cloud-based.”
Kid City has made large investments to update its systems to meet the demands of the 21st century. The company brought in a new ERP system, point-of-sale registers and iPhones to use as back-up mobile cash registers. It also brought in new software to better manage accounts payable, inventory, audits and loss prevention. Shamosh says the new systems also allow Kid City to capture valuable information regarding consumer buying habits.
“It gives us good information at our fingertips to work off of and to react on and to make sure we are getting the right information at the right time to the buyers,” Shamosh says. “At the end of the day, all of these improvements filter to our customers.”
The system upgrades allow Kid City to manage more functions centrally, freeing up managers and on-the-ground employees to focus on customer relationships. This has become a crucial factor in the retail business as consumers continue to watch their dollars more closely.
“Customer are buying closer to the vest,” Shamosh says. “We offer layaway and hold merchandise, but we don’t get as many of those early customers or those who buy winter coats in August. Consumers don’t do that anymore, instead, they wait for the weather break or for sales to happen. But we have great prices all the time and we try to make our first price our best price.”
Kid City also helps keep prices low by offering private-label merchandise of basic items, including t-shirts, tops, shorts and turtlenecks in classic colors and designs that don’t go out of style. The private-label merchandise is a nice complement to the branded products, allowing Kid City to serve the value-driven and the cost-conscious. Merchandise is displayed with prices clearly marked in each section, so rather than spending needless time browsing and looking at tags, parents can go straight to their price point and find what they are looking for.
“We’re an everyday value brand that’s out there for the customers,” Shamosh says. “We have a better selection than what you can find at the mall. They have 2,000 square feet, we have 10,000 square feet and because we carry newborn on up, we could have the same customers for more than 10 years. We want to make sure those customers know they can rely on us.”