rue21 to see further expansion

WEIRTON – rue21 is going to base its new e-commerce division at its distribution center in the Three Springs Drive business park, a company official told members of the Rotary Club of Weirton on Wednesday.

Tom Winters, senior director of distribution for rue21, told Rotarians the new unit will be on line by fall and means about 40 more jobs in Weirton.

“Right now, all our sales are brick-and-mortar,” he said. “By September or October we’ll have an e-commerce channel, and the decision was just made to base it in Weirton.”

rue21 has had a presence in Weirton for the past 13 years.

“It’s been a great experience,” he said after the luncheon meeting, adding the quality of the work force combined with Weirton’s location make it a smart fit.

“Weirton is actually a very good location for outbound shipping to consumers,” he said, noting its proximity to FedEx and UPS hubs. “It’s very attractive from a shipping standpoint and will allow (a great deal of) cost control.”

From a shipping standpoint, “we can hit our entire chain within 2.5 days, so it’s a great location for us,” he said.

Winters said the near 400,000-square-foot distribution center currently employs 150 people, though that number already was slated to grow by about 20 this year. It serves 890 retail stores in 47 states, but has the capability to do nearly twice that number.

He said the board of directors has a “really aggressive timeline” for adding the online component to the business.

“They decided two weeks ago to put the unit in Weirton, and it’s got to be ready by August to test,” he said.

The Rotary Club meets for lunch each Wednesday at Williams Country Club.