At a time when many companies are actually downsizing because of Covid-19, Rue21 is doing the opposite and is instead expanding.

The apparel retailer for teens is on course to open three new brick-and-mortar stores this month. The new locations are to be in South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas and it will bring the chain’s store count to 673 stores in 45 states.

“During this unprecedented time, belts were tightened — but the executive team continued to strategise and collaborate in order to prepare for pent up customer demand,” said interim CEO John Fleming. “We fully expected all areas of commerce to take a hit, but to our surprise, our customers were anxious to purchase affordable, fashion-forward pieces that fit into their new way of life.”

“Speed to market continues to be a laser focus,” said Fleming. “Trends are changing faster than ever before and we’re determined to consistently meet our loyal customers’ demands.”

In addition, the retailer doubled down on its customer loyalty strategy, launching a free reward program in April and across all stores on 9 July. The program gives customers 10 points for every $1 dollar spent — or a $5 dollar reward for every $75 spent — and includes exclusive member offers.