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  • Clint Engel

Single-source networks post 9.7% increase

HIGH POINT - The eight single source store networks on the Top 100 combined for a 9.7% sales increase to $6.3 billion last year, and with a big push from a couple of giants, managed to grow their share of the overall furniture store pie.
     The dedicated store networks couldn't match the growth rates of the Top 10 or the Top 100 specialty stores, but they did come close to the 9.9% sales increase for the overall Top 100 this year and handily beat the 5.7% increase for the Top 100 conventional stores.
     Single-source store networks are the company-owned, licensed or franchised stores in the Top 100 that are dedicated to single home furnishing brands and operated under a single retail banner.
     They also include vertically integrated companies, such as No. 15 Ethan Allen, No. 11 Sleep Number and newcomer No. 100 LoveSac.
     Only one of its members, No. 32 Thomasville Home Furnishings Stores, experienced a sales decline this time around, compared with two of the networks on the previous Top 100.
     With major net sales growth and decent store growth from a handful of players, the single source networks grew their share of all U.S. furniture store sales of furniture, bedding and accessories.
     The dedicated networks' total share rose to 14%, up from 13% for last year's dedicated networks.
     The Ashley Furniture Home- Stores network remained firmly atop the single-source networks and the Top 100 as a whole, posting a 9.6% increase in 2012 sales to $2.9 billion - up $258 million from a year ago. The HomeStores operators added a net 28 stores to end the year with 462 units.
     The addition of No. 100 LoveSac bumped the single source ranks to eight companies from seven the previous year. The $40 million in sales for the maker and retailer of modular and alternative upholstery was up 48.1% from $27 million the year before - the best percentage gain among the dedicated networks as well as the entire Top 100.
Sleep Number, formerly Select Comfort, gave a big boost to the single-source networks, too. As the vertically integrated bedding specialists grew sales 26.3% to $901.5 million and expanded by a net 29 stores to 410 units at yearend.
     Combined, the eight single source networks added a net total of 79 stores last year, reversing a three-year trend of store count declines - including a decrease of 49 stores a year ago, 24 stores the year before that and 137 in the 2009 calendar year.

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