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Weekends Only to open sixth store in St. Louis

Hopes to target more affluent customers

Clint Engel, Brent Felgner -- Furniture Today, October 28, 2010

 rendering Weekends Only store St. LouisA rendering shows the new Weekends Only store, which will open in February in a former Home Depot Expo building in St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — Weekends Only Furniture Outlet will open its sixth and largest store here in February in a move it says will complete its coverage in the market, and should capture a more affluent consumer in the process.

The Top 100 company, which has increased same-store sales in each of the past six years, expects to open a 113,000-square-foot store in a former Home Depot Expo in the western suburb of Manchester, Mo. It will have about 70,000 square feet of selling space with the rest dedicated to warehouse storage and staging.

With the opening - the company's first net new store since 2002 - Weekends Only expects to add more than 100 jobs.

"This will be our prototype going forward," said CEO Tom Phillips. "It's more about improving the customer experience with expanded assortments in growing categories such as motion, sectionals, bedrooms, home accents and outdoor."

The new store also will show "more room group settings to showcase better quality products we're bringing in for the more affluent customer in this market," he added.

Among the store's features will be Weekends Only's largest display of leather and bonded leather upholstery, as well as its largest world bazaar/treasure hunt area filled with home accents and gift items.

The new store will be on a busy intersection at Manchester Road and State Highway 41 in one of the most upscale areas of greater St. Louis, Phillips said.

"We think this store is going to propel us to over $65 million in sales (in 2011)," Phillips said.

He said the five existing stores are doing well this year, too, up about 7% over last year to date despite the tough economy. Phillips projected Weekends Only will finish the year with close to $50 million in sales.

Phillips said he doesn't anticipate operating more stores in St. Louis and that for future growth, the company will look to other Midwest markets. He declined to elaborate on the timing for additional expansion or the markets the company will evaluate.

The company, whose hot format has been copied to varying degrees by furniture retailers across the country, is No. 89 on Furniture/Today's Top 100 with estimated 2009 furniture, bedding and accessories sales of $45.6 million.

Weekends Only stores are open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and feature both name brand, first quality goods as well as closeouts, overstocks and other special buys at bargain prices.

The Manchester store will target affluent consumers with higher-end goods from suppliers such as Bernhardt, Hooker, Furniture Classics, Natuzzi and Legacy Classic, Phillips said. But he added that it won't abandon the more promotional and midpriced categories it's known for, and also will carry key brands from its other stores, including Ashley, Crown Mark, Lifestyle Enterprise, United and Serta.

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