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Ollie's Opens 1st Store in Iowa, Its 500th Overall

Discount retailer also building 1st distribution center in Midwest as part of its expansion plans
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Ollie's Iowa City Opening
Ollie’s team cuts the ribbon at the retailer's new Iowa City store, its first in Iowa and 500th store in the nation.

Ollie's Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc. is celebrating two major milestones this week with the grand opening of its 500th store in Iowa City, Iowa, and the "Topping Out" ceremony of its first Midwest distribution center, in Princeton, Ill.

Located at 1660 Sycamore Street, the new Iowa store also marks the Ollie’s entrance into its 30th state. 

Over in Princeton, Ollie's gathered officials from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the city of Princeton, and ARCO Design Build to celebrate a significant construction milestone for the new Ollie's distribution center. In a time-honored tradition known as Topping Out, a signed steel beam was placed on the roof of the Illinois facility to signal the next phase of construction of the more than 615,000-square-foot distribution center. Scheduled to open in 2024, the new center will service all nine of Ollie's stores in Illinois, as well as more than 150 stores across the Midwest, including the 500th store in Iowa City. With a capital investment of more than $75 million over the next few years, the location will create 200-plus full-time jobs.

"We are looking forward to expanding into the Midwest market and delighted to deliver Real Brands and Real Bargains on products that shoppers need and use in their everyday lives. The construction of our first distribution center in the Midwest will give us the capacity to service an additional 150 to 175 stores, supporting the next leg of our new store growth," said EVP and COO Eric van der Valk. 

The company plans to open more than 1,050 stores as part of its nationwide expansion.

Ollie's Princeton, Ill., Distribution Center
Ollie’s team, along with state and city officials from Princeton, Ill., gathered to celebrate a construction milestone of the retailer's first Midwest distribution center, which is scheduled to open in 2024.

"It's a very exciting week for Ollie's as we open our 500th store in Iowa — our 30th state — and we are grateful to our team members and customers who have helped us reach this important milestone," said John Swygert, Ollie’s president and CEO. "As we continue our journey to open more than 1,050 stores, building a distribution center strategically located in Illinois allows us to efficiently meet demand and deliver outstanding deals to our customers at the lowest possible prices while we expand our national footprint."

Value-seeking shoppers across nearly all income levels drove an especially strong second-quarter performance by Ollie's. Financial results for the period ending July 29 were positive, as customers sought deals on a range of consumable and nonconsumable goods.

The food category fueled many of the Q2 sales gains. Ollie's stores carry a variety of food and beverage products, such as rice, coffee pods, cereal, energy drinks and snacks, sold at up to 50% off traditional grocery prices. Other top-performing categories included candy, summer furniture, lawn and garden items, and housewares.

Total net sales for the second quarter rose 13.7% to reach $515.5 million, and comp sales climbed 7.9% from the prior-year increase of 1.2%. Operating income rose by a whopping 217.5% to $52.5 million, while net income jumped 199.2% to $42.2 million and adjusted EBITDA surged 146.7% in that time frame.

One of America’s largest retailers of closeout merchandise and excess inventory, Harrisburg, Pa.-based Ollie's offers extreme value on brand-name products in a variety of departments, including housewares, food, books and stationery, bed and bath, floor coverings, toys, health and beauty aids, and more. The company currently employs more than 11,000 team members across 30 states.

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