Careers at The Buckle, Inc.
The Buckle Inc (“Buckle”) aims to provide a unique range of fashionable, branded clothing products and accessories primarily to male consumers at affordable prices.
Buckle traces its roots back to 1948, when businessman David Hirschfield established a men’s clothing store in Kearney Nebraska. The store, which initially operated under the name Mills Clothing, was taken over by David Hirschfield’s son Dan Hirschfield in 1965.
Under this new leadership, the Company opened a second store named Brass Buckle in 1967, following which the Company began selling more casual men’s clothing products. By the early 1970s, Buckle had developed into a retailer of denim-based products.
Buckle has since expanded its operations and product range significantly. The Company notably began selling women’s clothing in 1977 and opened its first mall store.
It assumed the name The Buckle Inc in 1991, and began developing its own private clothing label under the name bkle (now BKE).
In 1992, Buckle listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol BKLE. By this time, the Company operated a network of 100 stores across 18 US states. Buckle transferred to the New York Stock Exchange in 1997, where it continues to trade under the ticker symbol BKE.
Buckle has established itself as a prominent retailer of branded apparel for men, women, and children in the US.
The Company currently operates a network of 450 stores across 42 US states under the names ‘Buckle’ and ‘The Buckle’, as well as on online store.
Buckle has a current market capitalization of approximately USD 771.96 million.
Business model of The Buckle, Inc.
Buckle offers a wide range of apparel products and accessories across its network of stores and ecommerce portals. The Company serves a large customer base.
The bulk of these customers fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Younger Consumers, primarily comprising consumers aged between 15 and 30;
- Middle and Higher Income Consumers, comprising consumers who fall into the middle income or higher income brackets and have a larger amount of disposable income to spend on clothing and accessories; and
- Fashion Conscious Consumers, comprising consumers who are interested in fashion and are comfortable spending more money on clothes that for individual style or taste.
Buckle historically operated as a men’s fashion retailer, but has since expanded its offerings to include products for women and children.
While the Company defines its target customer as being between 15 to 30, it has introduced a wider range of designs and styles to attract customers outside of this range.
Buckle is headquartered in the US, which is the company’s core market. Buckle serves customers via physical outlets in 42 US states and ships products to a number of international markets through its online store.
Buckle provides value to its customers in the following ways:
- History and Track Record – Buckle has established itself as a reliable and popular retailer of fashion apparel and accessories, with a positive reputation rooted in the Company’s more than 70-year history in the fashion retail industry;
- Accessibility and Reach – Buckle operates a network of 450 physical stores across 42 US states, as well as an online store that ships to a number of international markets, ensuring that it is able to reach as large a customer base as possible;
- Product Range – Buckle offers a wide range of products including tops, jeans, shoes, accessories , and other items for men, women, and children, ensuring that it is able to fulfill the needs of consumers across a wide range of demographics;
- Unique Products – Buckle develops and markets its own range of clothes and accessories under its own proprietary BKR brand, offering products to consumers that are not available at competing retail chains; and
- Personalized Customer Service – Buckle aims to offer personalised customer service to its shoppers, including free hemming, free gift-wrapping, easy layaways, a Buckle private label credit card, and a loyalty scheme, ensuring that its customers have an enjoyable and rewarding customer experience.
Buckle employs an omni-channel sales network, serving its customers directly via its network of physical retail outlets, as well as online through its own ecommerce portal.
The Company operates a network of 450 brick and mortar stores across 42 US states under the ‘Buckle’ and ‘The Buckle’ brand names.
Buckle also serves customers across more a number of international markets via its online store, through which customers are able to browse products, place orders, and schedule deliveries on a self-service basis.
The Company operates a single distribution center in support of its retail operations. Its distribution activities are supported by a number of third party delivery partners.
Buckle serves its customers directly in-store, and on a self-service basis through its online shop.
The Company’s stores are staffed by sales personnel who seek to provide excellent customer service to customers, as well as offering various personalized ancillary services such as gift wrapping and hemming.
The Company’s in-store personnel also deal directly with customer requests, queries, complaints, and product returns.
In addition to hosting an online store on its website, Buckle also uses its website to provide customers with information on its store locations, its products, its returns policy, and shipping options. The Company’s website includes an order tracking service and a store-finding service, which gives customers further flexibility and control in their shopping experience.
Buckle has an extensive social media presence, operating a number of accounts – including with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube – through which it is able to communicate deals and updates to its customers directly and handle customer feedback.
The Company also publishes a blog on its website, through which it provides information on company developments.
Buckle operates as a retailer of casual apparel, footwear and accessories for young men and women. The Company operates a network of around 450 retail stores across 42 US states under the ‘Buckle’ and ‘The Buckle’ brands, as well as an online retail channel.
The Company markets a selection of brand name casual apparel, including denims, casual bottoms, tops, sportswear, outerwear, accessories and footwear for men, women, and children.
It also provides a range of other services, such as free hemming, free gift-wrapping, easy layaways, the Buckle private label credit card, and a guest loyalty program.
The Company offers products from popular brands such as Miss Me, Rock Revival, Big Star Vintage, Buffalo Jeans, KanCan, Flying Monkey and Levi's, as well as under its own BKN brand.
Buckle is headquartered in Kearney, Nebraska.
Buckle partners with a network of companies and organizations in support of its core manufacturing and retail activities.
These partners can be organized broadly into the following categories:
- Supplier and Vendor Partners, comprising suppliers of materials and equipment used in the Company’s design and manufacturing activities, as well as third party providers of services that support the Company’s corporate activities;
- Manufacturing Partners, comprising various third party manufacturing companies and factory operators through which the Company produces its proprietary BKN-branded clothing products and accessories;
- Distribution Partners, comprising a range of distribution companies and third-party carriers that support the Company’s distribution activities, ensuring that the Company’s stores and its customers are served reliably and efficiently;
- Branding and Marketing Partners, comprising a range of clothing brands and marketing agencies with which the Company collaborates on marketing, advertising, and branding projects across its stores and online;
- Community Partners, comprising a range of non-profits and charitable organizations, with which the Company collaborates on community and social projects across the US; and
- Strategic Partner, comprising various other commercial enterprises and organiyations with which the Company collaborates on business development and strategic projects.
Buckle has a number of partnerships in place. This includes tie-ups with Kirkland Signature, Aptos Inc, Alliance Data, and NBC Universal.
The success of Buckle’s business model depends on its ability to provide customers with high-quality fashion items reliably and efficiently.
As such, the Company’s key resources are its brands and intellectual properties – notably the ‘Buckle’ and ‘The Buckle’ names, its network of retail outlets, its suppliers and supply chain infrastructure, its online store and IT infrastructure, its partnerships – notably its manufacturing and distribution partners, and its personnel.
The Company’s network of around 450 physical outlets and its online store are notably essential to the Company’s operations.
Buckle incurs costs in relation to the operation of its store network – including occupancy and utility costs, the procurement of materials and equipment, the procurement of third party manufacturing and distribution services, the operation and maintenance of its online store, the development and maintenance of its IT and communications infrastructure, the development and implementation of marketing and branding campaigns, the management of its partnerships, and the payment of salaries and benefits to its workforce.
In 2019, Buckle recorded total selling expenses of USD 202.03 million, general and administrative expenses in the amount of USD 43.11 million, and cost of sales totaling USD 519.42 million.
Buckle generates revenue via the sale of branded clothing products and accessories across its network of physical, as well as via its online sales portal.
The Company derives the bulk of its revenue in the form of sales fees collected directly from customers at point of sale, both online and at its physical retail outlets.
In 2019, Buckle recorded total net sales of USD 885.50 million, down on the USD 913.38 million recorded by the Company in 2018.
info: Dennis H. Nelson (“Nelson”) has served as President and director at Buckle since April 1991, and has been the Company’s Chief Executive Officer since March 1997. He is responsible for developing and implementing the Company’s business and growth strategies, and coordinates between the Company’s Board of Directors and its executive leadership team. Nelson is a long-serving employee of Buckle, having first joined the Company in 1970 as a part-time salesman while he was attending Kearney State College. After graduating from college in 1973, joined Buckle as a full-time employee. He worked in a variety of roles Nelson has since held numerous roles within the Company across all phases of its operations. Prior to his election as President and Chief Executive Officer, Nelson served as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer from 1991.
info: Thomas B. Heacock (“Heacock”) has served as Treasurer at Buckle since joining the Company in October 2003, as a member of the Company’s board of directors since July 2017, and as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer since February 2018. He is responsible for overseeing all of Buckle’s corporate finance activities, including its treasury, investor relations, accounting, and corporate tax divisions. Heacock began his career in 2001, where he served for more than two years as an auditor before joining Buckle. He moved to Buckle in 2003, serving initially as Vice President of Finance, Treasurer, and Corporate Controller before assuming his current role. Heacock is notably the son-in-law of Buckle’s President and Chief Executive Officer Nelson.
info: Kari G. Smith (“Smith”) has served Executive Vice President of Stores at Buckle since February 2014, and has been a member of the Company’s board of directors since February 2018. Smith is responsible for overseeing the Company’s store operations across its network of outlets, including its online store. Smith is a long-serving employee of Buckle. She first joined the Company in May 1978 as a part-time salesperson. She has since held roles of increasing responsibility, holding a store manager position in Great Bend, Kansas before working with other stores as an area manager. Smith has gone on to hold a number of senior leadership positions within the Company’s sales management team, including a supervisory role in which she helped train new store managers and offered support to store managers, area managers, and district managers.
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