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More than half of companies on Top 100 list are expanding


For the first time since before the recession, more than half the companies on the Top 100 have expanded or plan to expand their footprints this year.

Fifty-five companies on the list have either upped their store count already, plan to by the end of the year or early 2015, or they have plans to expand their footprint without adding to their store count. The plans include everything from showrooms in new markets, to new formats.

The past few years of expansion have signaled recovery for the biggest in the industry, but it hasn’t been since 2006 that the majority of the Top 100 was in this heavy an expansion mode.

Even though the Top 100 companies were a little conservative in their planning (or broadcasting of plans) last year, their actions were aggressive. Some 45 companies on last year’s list indicated they were expansion minded in 2013, while 47 of this year’s Top 100 companies actually increased their store counts. The year before, 42 Top 100 companies expanded.

Here’s a sample of what is coming this year along with a few of the highlights from 2013:

•Bedding specialists may not have had their best sales year in 2013, but they did net the bulk of the new stores last year, and this year is likely to bring more of the same. For starters, No. 5 Mattress Firm has acquired the 55-store Sleep Experts in Texas, is set to acquire approximately 75 stores from Mattress Liquidators with stores in Colorado and Arizona at the end of the second quarter, and expects to open up to 165 stores. No. 11 Sleepy’s, with 939 stores at yearend, expects to hit the 1,000 mark by the end of 2014, and No. 13 Sleep Number is on track to add a net 25 stores, ending the year with 465 locations.

On top of this, No. 19 Sleep Train has acquired the nine-store America’s Mattress in Hawaii and is set to open 10 to 20 new stores this year, while No. 57 Back To Bed/Bedding Experts/Mattress Barn plans to add a net 25 stores for a total of 156 locations.

•It will get even hotter in Phoenix. Two Top 100 giants — No. 22 American Furniture Warehouse and No. 34 Living Spaces — opened 130,000-plus-square-foot stores in greater Phoenix in 2013 and by all industry reports they’ve been wildly successful. Living Spaces has since opened its second Phoenix store, and AFW says its second in Glendale, Ariz., is coming this fall.

•No. 6 Berkshire Hathaway’s furniture division is getting busy this year after a 2013 with no store growth. Its Salt Lake City-based R.C. Willey just opened its largest store to date in Draper, Utah, replacing a smaller showroom in the area. And next year, Omaha, Neb.-based Nebraska Furniture Mart will move into a north Dallas suburb with a 560,000-square-foot showroom in the spring followed by Taunton, Mass.-based Jordan’s opening a 200,000-square-foot store in New Haven, Conn., in the summer of 2015.

•No. 2 IKEA rarely grows by leaps and bounds, but when it opens a store, it’s a big one. This summer, it will open a 416,000-square-foot Miami-area store, this fall will open a 359,000-square-foot Kansas City-area store, and fall of 2015, IKEA will open a 380,000-square-foot store in St. Louis.

•No. 1 Ashley Furniture HomeStores didn’t disclose all of its expansion plans, but earlier this year, it celebrated its 500 th location with the opening of a HomeStore in Longview, Texas, by No. 49 Dufresne Spencer Group. That gave the dedicated store network a net seven new stores for the year already.

•Speaking of Dufresne Spencer Group, the Memphis, Tenn.-based operator of HomeStores and multi-line Stash Home stores has been on a tear, nearly doubling its store count last year to 35 stores while posting a 33.1% increase in sales for the third-greatest percentage gain on the Top 100. DSG acquired the stores of two Top 100 companies last year — the former KHF Holdings of Louisville, Ky., and No. 88 Phillips Furniture of St. Louis, Mo. In addition to the Longview opening this year, DSG acquired two HomeStores in Lexington, Ky., and Cookeville, Tenn., this past April.

•No. 18 Art Van is continuing its torrent of expansion on several fronts. In January, it opened the third and fourth full-line franchise stores in secondary Michigan markets. It opened a second Indiana Art Van store in Fort Wayne in February and its sixth Chicago-area store in April. More is on tap, including a fifth franchise store in Owosso, Mich., this summer.

•Under new ownership (Bain Capital) since January, No. 14 Bob’s Discount Furniture entered the Philadelphia market over President’s Day weekend with three area stores. More are planned but the timing was not disclosed.

•No. 48 Steinhafels made a positive out of a negative with the acquisition of three of the 11 shuttered American TV & Appliance stores in Wisconsin. Two are expected to open in the fall and the third will open early next year.

•No. 40 El Dorado Furniture will push past a dozen stores when it opens its first showroom on Florida’s Gulf Coast in Fort Meyers late this year.

•No. 44 TheRoomPlace will expand its presence in Indianapolis with the opening of two more stores there this summer. RoomPlace owner Bruce Berman also is getting into the rent-to-own business with the acquisition of Easyhome franchising rights for most of Illinois and all of Indiana and plans to open the first of several Easyhome stores this year in a north Chicago suburb.

•No. 52 Gallery Furniture plans to open its third and largest Houston-area store by the end of the year or early next year — a 140,000-square-foot showroom in Richmond, Texas.

•No. 61 Big Sandy Superstore opened its first new full-line store since 2009 in Lancaster, Ohio. With the Connie Post Cos.-designed store, the retailer also pushed into a more affluent market.

•No. 80 C.S. Wo& Sons in Honolulu will change things up with the opening of two new format stores showcasing affordable contemporary home furnishings called Red Knot. The retailer will use existing space for the first two stores, but is planning a third Red Knot in 2015 that will be part of a new 60,000-square-foot facility.

Source: Furniture Today  

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