Monday, September 25, 2006

Boost in Internet Sales Leads Dixon's Gymboree to Expand

Boost in Internet Sales Leads Dixon's Gymboree to Expand
More Workers Will be Hired Gradually
Sacramento Business Journal - September 22, 2006
by Melanie Turner
Staff Writer

The Gymboree Corp. is expanding its Dixon distribution center by 145,000 square feet and call center by 18,800 square feet in large part because of increased Internet sales.

"Little old Dixon, and the Internet has an impact. Who would have thought?" said Mike Ammann, president of the Solano County Economic Development Corp. "It's not unique, but the Internet does have an effect on small communities."

The Burlingame-based designer, manufacturer and retailer of children's clothing moved its 270,000-square-foot distribution center to Dixon from Hayward in 1997.

The center is in the Dixon Commerce Center on Kids Way, just off Highway 113 and south of Interstate 80.

The center handles distribution for the United States and Canada and had 100 employees when it opened. Today, it employs about 250.

The company has 180 distribution workers and up to 300 during the holiday season from mid-October to mid-January. The customer service center employs 70 people, and as many as 100 during the peak season.

Additional employees won't immediately be hired as a result of the expansion, but people are expected to be hired gradually. The company expects about 180 employees in the call center and another 100 distribution workers.

"We'll ramp up as the business requires," said Jeff Harris, vice president of finance for Gymboree.

Officials said it was premature to disclose how much the company will pay for the expansion, citing Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.

Mark Heckey, economic development director for the city of Dixon, said the company is "moving forward on a fast track."

On Tuesday, the Dixon Planning Commission voted 7-0 to give environmental clearance allowing Gymboree to submit a building permit. The company plans to start construction Oct. 1 and be finished by July 15, said Dan Allison, vice president for logistics.

Gymboree (Nasdaq: GYMB) has three retail outlets in Sacramento. As of January, the company had 9,600 full- and part-time workers. The company operates 688 retail stores and has 533 franchised centers offering parent-child programs.

Gymboree also operates two online stores.

The company reported sales from retail operations for the four-week period ended Aug. 26 of $55.1 million, a 25 percent increase compared to $44.1 million for the same four-week period last year. | 916-558-7859

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