Spencer’s: Can a Specialty Store Survive as a Brick-and-Mortar?

You may walk into a mall and notice stores that were once there are gone. Others may have been relocated. The question that lingers is what brick-and-mortar stores will remain? The stakes are even higher for specialty stores. Spencer Spirit Holdings Inc., best known for the store Spencer’s, have a special niche. With trends constantly changing, what is the future for a store like this? Will their physical locations be able to withstand the constant changes among other brick-and-mortar stores? The following looks closer at the Spencer Spirit Holdings Inc., Spencer’s, its competition and future projections as a brick-and-mortar.

Spencer’s and Spirit Halloween

Spencer Spirit Holdings Inc. operates two unique brands: Spencer’s and Spirit Halloween. Spencer Gifts LLC is a lifestyle retail company operating for the past 65 years with two unique brands: Spencer’s and Spirit Halloween. Physical locations include the United States and Canada. They have an online presence as well with select items not sold in stores. The core demographic are 18-24 years of age. What once ex as a mail order company has evolved into selling savvy, humorous content. Spencer’s is a part of the consumer-discretionary sector. These items are those that are not needed, but are desired by consumers.

A snapshot of Spirt Halloween is that it is a Halloween gold mine. While it operates online year-round, you only find physical locations during late August to early November. They sell more than just costumes. Customers can find décor, collectibles, props, and more. Over 1000 locations can be found in malls as well as strip centers and free-standing locations.

Compared to Spencer’s, Spirit Halloween has an even more narrow niche. Not only is it strictly Halloween themed, but it’s a seasonal store. There is a pro and a con to that. The pro is that it is not open year-round and the product selection will not appeal to everyone. To that downside, it also turns into a pro for the brand. As a seasonal store, there is a demand in place for the time of year that it is open. Customers are bound to find something unique with it being a seasonal store. While it operates online, it’s a great customer experience to walk in and shop and see all the cool features set up throughout the store.


The top competitor of Spencer’s is Hot Topic. It is a store that comes to mind as far as product selection as well as store layout. The pricing between the two stores is similar as well. Walking into either store you’ll find t-shirts lined up on the walls with the stores stacked according to size beneath. Aside from t-shirts, you can find other novelty and pop culture products in both Spencer’s and Hot Topic. Hot Topic’s direction stems from its creation in the late 1980s, music-inspired accessories. Although their product selection has expanded over the years, you will find licensed concert apparel in Hot Topic. Hot Topic’s music based selection, that is the key difference.

Party City is a competitor to Spirt Holding Inc.’s brand, Spirit Halloween. The store is open year-round while Spirit Halloween is a seasonal store. Party City has all the party goods you can imagine and by the fall they have a variety of costumes to choose from. Being the one stop party shop gives Party City the upper hand over Spirit Halloween.

Future of Brick-and-Mortar’s

Like most department stores, Spencer’s has an e-commerce store. With shopping quickly transitioning to online, full-time, what does that mean for physical locations? Spencer’s does not have a product selection that you have to buy in store. The age demographic of shoppers may prefer to use their phones to buy these items versus finding a store in a local mall. It’s not like a furniture or clothing store where trying on or seeing the product is necessary. With shopping quickly transitioning to online, full-time, what does that mean for physical locations, especially specialty stores such as Spencer’s.

For stores to remain and withstand the constant evolution of brick-and-mortar, a plan has to be in place. The customer experience is crucial to keep customers engaged. It should not be a difficult process. A key factor that would entice them to continue to shop in stores would be the convenience that they find on online. Stores must be able to provide immediate product information, sizing options, similar recommendation, and the option of delivery.

Omni-channel strategies are put in place to put the focus on the consumer and provide a seamless shopping experience regardless of how they’re shopping. What gives Spencer’s an edge is the understanding they have of their audience. They sell more than products, they are selling an experience. Those key points make Spencer’s a strong contender to continuously thrive as a brick and mortar. They have a distinct audience that still enjoys being able to walk into the store and purchase on demand. Operating online is an added bonus, but their physical locations still have a place in your local malls.

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