While everyone and his realtor knows all about McMansions and the oversizing of the Great American Home, hardly anyone is paying attention to the fact that the stores where people buy all the home furnishings products to put into those colossal-sized homes are also getting larger and larger.
In a retail landscape where market share is slowly but surely moving online and one-time physical store powerhouses like Linens’n Things, Circuit City and, just recently, Anna’s Linens, are now just mall memories, some retailers are moving in the opposite direction. Seemingly counterintuitive: Why would you move to larger stores with more inventory and higher breakeven points when many national chains are downsizing? The surge to the square-foot splurge is happening with surprising frequency.
Furnishings operations like At Home (the retailer previously known as Garden Ridge), RH (the retailer previously known as Restoration Hardware) and Nebraska Furniture Mart (same name, but no longer confined to Nebraska) are opening bigger stores, with more to come. All of which raises the inevitable question: Is bigger better? Not that this is exactly a new question. Home furnishings stores have traditionally been larger than their apparel brethren, which of course makes sense given that sofas, big TVs and major appliances are larger than skimpy tops and short shorts. [Read more…]