Monday, June 9, 2008

The Buckle: Securely Belted

It would seem that The Buckle is impervious to climate changes—both natural and man-made. The Kearney, Neb.-based apparel chain has successfully weathered a series of Nebraska tornadoes that have sent residents across the state into our basements night after night after night. (A few nights ago, Kearney was hit so hard that I actually checked the next day’s newspaper to see if Buckle’s headquarters building had been tumbled.)

But no Nebraska tornado touched the 376-store retailer—and no economic storm has either. An article in the June 6 Lincoln Journal-Star, headlined “Nebraska’s The Buckle Among Leaders of May Retail Strength,” reported on the youth fashion retailer’s shining performance that surpassed even the discount stores around the country.

For the month of May, discounters such as Costco and Wal-Mart were among the stronger performers as consumers strategized how best to spend what remained after paying their gasoline bills. But, according to the newspaper article, “Nebraska’s own The Buckle, a younger-fashion retailer based in Kearney, blew the doors off again, as it has been for months.” The article cited “staggering” numbers: May same-store sales increases of 34.7%.

I get asked all the time if Nebraska has any retail. Instead of making excuses, I think I’ll just answer “we’re home to The Buckle” and feel a little smug when I say it.

—Katherine Field

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