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Mattress Firm acquires 75 Mattress King and BedMart stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Houston – Mattress Firm Holding Corp. has entered into an agreement to acquire Mattress Liquidators Inc., which operates Mattress King retail stores in Colorado, and BedMart retail stores in Arizona, for about $35 million. This will add approximately 75 specialty retail stores to the Mattress Firm company-operated store base in markets where it currently operates, primarily Denver, Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona.

The closing of the acquisition is expected to occur by the end of the second fiscal quarter of 2014, subject to normal closing conditions.

“We are excited to further expand our position in the Denver, Phoenix and Tucson markets,” stated Steve Stagner, Mattress Firm president & CEO. “We believe that the acquisition of the Denver stores will allow us to leap into a strong position in that market, building on the foothold established by the acquisition last month of the formerly franchised Mattress Firm stores in Denver. The additional stores in Phoenix and Tucson will supplement the existing base of quality stores that we currently operate in those markets. This acquisition is aligned with our relative market share strategy, which continues to build long-term value creation for our shareholders.”

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Leonard Green managing partner leaves post

BY Dan Berthiaume

Los Angeles – Peter J. Nolan, 55, one of three managing partners of private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, is leaving his post. Leonard Green holds investment stakes in major retail chains including J. Crew, Petco, The Container Store, and Topshop/Topman.

Nolan will serve as a senior advisor to Leonard Green and also serve as a board member of several companies in its portfolio. He is leaving to devote more time to philanthropic activities.

“It has been a privilege to work with extraordinary partners and colleagues, loyal investors, and some of the most talented executives in the world at our portfolio companies,” Nolan said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing the relationships I have built during the past three decades while beginning a new chapter.”

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Study: Digital influences $1 trillion in retail sales

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Digital interactions influence 36 cents of every dollar spent in the retail store, or approximately $1.1 trillion. According to the latest study from Deloitte Digital, by the end of 2014, that number will climb to 50%, or $1.5 trillion of total store sales.

The study, "The New Digital Divide," shows that looking solely at smartphones, industry estimates put mobile commerce sales at roughly $40 billion in 2014. By comparison, Deloitte Digital’s data indicates that mobile-influenced sales in the store have reached $593 billion, suggesting that smartphones’ influence on store sales has far surpassed the rate at which consumers make a purchase directly on their phones.

Consumers using a device during their shopping journey convert, meaning they make a purchase, at a rate 40% higher than those who do not use a device. In addition, Deloitte Digital found a dramatic impact on traffic, spending and loyalty from digital shoppers. For example, 84% of store visitors use their devices before or during a shopping trip, 22% of consumers spend more as a result of using digital; just more half of these shoppers report spending at least 25% more than they had intended. Three-quarters of respondents said product information found on social channels influenced their shopping behavior and enhanced loyalty.

Currently, more than 90% of retail sales occur in brick-and-mortar stores, but the surging digital influence calls upon retailers to redefine marketing, the store associate’s role and in-store technology. Consumers largely prefer to navigate the aisles and the checkout without a store associate’s help. Eight-in-10 (80%) respondents in Deloitte Digital’s study said they prefer to obtain product information on their own device or from an in-store device like a kiosk, rather than ask a sales associate.

However, digital interactions vary significantly by store category, with the highest influence occurring in specialty stores. At the top is the electronics/appliances category, where devices influence 58% of store sales, followed by furniture (56%) and sporting goods (50%); the impact falls lower in categories like health/personal care/drug (35%), grocery (29%) and general merchandise/department/warehouse club (23%).

"Each interaction is an opportunity for a retailer to enhance the customer experience and tell its brand story," said Jeff Simpson, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and co-author of the study. "However, retailers often measure success solely on how many widgets they sell through their web or mobile sites. For example, retailers might regard online shopping cart abandonment as a failed conversion when in reality, it may represent a customer who started their wish list in the online basket, but chose to purchase the items in the store. In that case, digital engagement may have led to a sale in the physical store. This impact is much higher when measured holistically across the organization and regardless of channels, rather than force-fitted to a single point of purchase."

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