Retail

How E-Commerce Is Saving Francesca's and Could Save Even More Retailers

Perhaps the biggest problem faced by most businesses during this pandemic has been the inability to operate their brick-and-mortar locations. As a result, we’ve seen a huge push towards e-commerce, and Francesca’s Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: FRAN) is finally coming around to this idea.

Francesca’s shares more than doubled on Thursday after the company and Poq announced a partnership to develop Francesca’s first mobile application.

Although Poq is not a household name, the company operates as a software-as-a-service app platform that enables retailers to create highly-effective and fully customized mobile apps with a focus on e-commerce.

As part of the effort to meet the customer needs, Francesca’s plans to launch a new iOS app this summer and a new Android app later this year. The plan is to have both in place in time for Black Friday and the holiday season.

Management noted that this application will be designed to enhance the customer experience, recognizing that mobile is increasingly becoming her preferred way to shop. The new digital format will provide an elevated design, improved navigation and increased ease of use.

Andrew Clarke, CEO of Francesca’s, commented that during the temporary store closure period arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, its e-commerce business surged. “Given the accelerating shift to online shopping, we are excited to be stepping up our digital transformation strategy with the launch of this mobile app.”

Excluding Thursday’s move, Francesca’s had vastly underperformed the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 with a retreat of 66% year to date. In the past 52 weeks, the stock was down closer to 27%.

If this app works out for Francesca’s then it makes the case for even more retailers to shift their focus to this platform. Better to adapt now before the holiday season comes around.

Francesca’s stock was last seen up about 111% at $7.33 on Thursday, with a 52-week range of $1.70 to $21.95.