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Living Spaces may be headed to Phoenix market

Heath E. Combs, Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, May 1, 2013

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. — Industry sources and real estate and other documents indicate that retailer Living Spaces is planning a move into the greater Phoenix market, possibly setting the stage for a hot contest with American Furniture Warehouse - also on its way to the area.

Several sources, who declined to be identified, said they know of the Top 100 company's plans for the market, although they were uncertain about the timing. Living Spaces co-owner Grover Geiselman did not respond to emails and a call to the retailer's Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., headquarters for comment.

But the information from industry sources appears to be backed up by documents.

Geiselman signed a sublease agreement document on Dec. 19 for a portion of the former 133,000-square-foot Great Indoors space in The Promenade shopping center in Scottsdale, Ariz. The initial term of the sublease is through Oct. 31, 2024, according to a document filed with the Maricopa County Recorder's office.

In addition, Geiselman signed a registration application for incorporation of Living Spaces Furniture with the Arizona Corporation Commission on Jan. 17.

Also on file is a public meeting notice by the Phoenix Planning and Development Department for a meeting that was slated for Dec. 4 regarding a site plan review for a "Living Spaces Furniture Distribution Center" proposed at 6600 W. Latham in Phoenix.

Living Spaces also has been advertising to fill a regional sales trainer position in Scottsdale, Ariz., on CareerBuilder.com. The job was posted April 15.

If the plan does come to fruition, it would likely be the eight-store Southern California retailer's first move outside of its home state, and would set up a battle of regional giants with Englewood, Colo.-based American Furniture Warehouse.

AFW, led by CEO Jake Jabs, announced in December that it has acquired 73 acres in Gilbert, Ariz., for the first of two large stores and distribution center planned for greater Phoenix. Jabs has said that the first 550,000-square-foot facility, with a 150,000-square-foot showroom, is expected to open in September.

And it's coming after a several former large players cleared out of the market for various reasons, including Breuners Arizona, Robb & Stucky, Grupo Famsa and Levitz.

Living Spaces was no. 37 on Furniture/Today Top 100 last year with eight stores and estimated 2011 sales of $185 million. American Furniture Warehouse was No. 23 with 2011 furniture, bedding and accessories sales of $323 millionat 12 stores.

A new Top 100 ranking based on 2012 sales will come out later this month.

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