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Business Observer Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 5 years ago

Retail stalwart

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Fort Myers-based Chico's FAS was founded in 1983 on Sanibel Island and has since become one of the largest and most recognized corporate entities in Southwest Florida.

Fort Myers-based Chico's FAS was founded in 1983 on Sanibel Island and has since become one of the largest and most recognized corporate entities in Southwest Florida. Some highlights for the company over the past 20 years include:

1998-2000: Sales increase an average of 50% a year;
2000: Launches catalog mailings and opens a call center to take orders;
2001: Chico's Founders building opens in Fort Myers. Company makes its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. Company is ranked No. 1 on Forbes magazine's 200 Best Small Companies list;
2003: Average new store sales reach $1.45 million per year;
2004: Acquires White House | Black Market and launches Soma, an intimate apparel boutique;
2006: Adds 24 acres to its Fort Myers campus;
2009: First Lady Michelle Obama appears on ABC's “The View” wearing a White House | Black Market dress.
2011: Acquires Boston Proper brand, a catalog-only business, for $213 million. It later opened a Boston Proper retail store.
2013: The White House | Black Market “Ray” shoe hits the $7 million mark after being on the floor for a little more than two years;
2015: Shelley Broader named CEO.
2016: Sells Boston Proper to Los Angles-based private equity firm Brentwood Associates.

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