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  • Clint Engel

Sleep shops top Top 100 with 22.9% gain

HIGH POINT - The Top 100 bedding specialty stores continued their torrent of activity last year, adding stores and gobbling up smaller competitors on their way to another stellar sales year.
     The 10 bedding retailers on the list were tops among the Top 100 in sales growth, combining for a 22.9% increase in 2012 sales to $4.2 billion.
     They were tops in both percentage store growth and the top subcategory for net store growth, too, adding 568 new stores, an increase of 18.5% to end the year with 3,638 units.
     Industry analyst Jerry Epperson contended that the hot mattress party finally may be coming to an end, or at least dialing back a notch this year as first quarter figures point to a slowdown in non-innerspring business.
     That may prove to be the case, but there was no sign of it coming from the Top 100 bedding specialists last year. In several ways, they were the Top 100's standout performers once again.
     Take No. 6 Mattress Firm. The Houston-based retailer managed a four-place jump up the Top 100 from its No. 10 position the previous year - no easy feat. The largest of the bedding retailers, with both franchised and company- owned stores, Mattress Firm rang up the greatest net sales gain and the second largest percentage sales increase of any Top 100 company, growing 40.5% or by $336.8 million to $1.2 billion. It topped the billion-dollar sales mark for the first time last year.
     Mattress Firm also added more stores to its count than any other company, up 360 units last year to 1,215 total stores. That growth amounted to well over half the 621 stores netted by the entire Top 100.
     Mattress Firm grew through opening stores (adding 118) and through acquisition (the other 242 stores). Among other things, it swallowed most of the former Top 100 company Mattress Giant as well as 34 former Mattress X-Press stores in Georgia and South Florida and 27 Mattress Source locations in the Carolinas.
     No. 11 Sleep Number grew its sales by 26.3% to $901.5 million and added 29 stores for a total of 410. Formerly known as Select Comfort, Sleep Number continued to rule over two performance measures, posting the greatest sales per square foot average ($1,324) and the highest average gross margin (63.8%). Its average stock turns of 12 times were fifth best among Top 100 companies reporting the information.
     And while the bedding specialists and the Top 100 lost Mattress Giant this year, they gained No. 68 Mattress Warehouse. The Frederick, Md., based company operated 156 stores in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., and finished 2012 with an estimated $85 million in sales.
     No. 9 Sleepy's, the previous year's largest bedding specialist, had another good year in 2012, growing sales by 15.4% to $976 million and adding a net 86 stores. Among other things, Sleepy's entered new markets in North Carolina, Albany N.Y., and the upper New England states, and was the winning bidder for the 80-store Mattress Discounters chain, which went on the block last year with the collapse of former owner Room- Store of Richmond, Va.
     No. 19 Sleep Train, No. 61 Innovative Mattress Solutions and No. 76 American Mattress were the other double- digit sales gainers in the bedding subgroup.
     Sleep Train grew 20.5% to $448.1 million. The Citrus Heights, Calif.-based retailer added 22 stores last year, entered the Boise, Idaho, market and opened its first mall based store as a test called Got Sleep?
     Innovative Mattress saw a 16.3% sales increase to $93 million as it added 27 stores to end the year with 147 units. It entered Alabama last year with the acquisition of Mattress King and renamed the Mattresses Unlimited stores, which it acquired in 2011, Sleep Outfitters.
     American Mattress posted an 11.1% sales increase to $70 million and added eight stores including four in Fort Wayne, Ind., a new market for the Elmhurst, Ill.-based chain. It ended the year with 90 stores and expects to top 100 units this year.

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