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Morris Furniture to open five-store complex in Florence, Ky.

 Fairborn, Ohio-based Morris Furniture will open its second five-store Morris Home Center in Florence, Ky., next fall. The 100,000-square-foot center will be located in a former Kmart in northern Kentucky.Fairborn, Ohio-based Morris Furniture will open its second five-store Morris Home Center in Florence, Ky., next fall. The 100,000-square-foot center will be located in a former Kmart in northern Kentucky.

FAIRBORN, Ohio — Morris Furniture said it will open its second Cincinnati-area Morris Home Center in Florence, Ky., next year, a 100,000-square-foot complex featuring five stores.

The Home Center, near the Florence Mall on KY 18/Burlington Pike off Interstate 75 in a former Kmart location, will be northern Kentucky's largest home furnishing complex devoted exclusively to furniture, mattresses, HDTVs and gifts, the Top 100 company said in a release.

Morris will add 40 to 50 jobs and invest an estimated $5 million in remodeling, fixtures and showroom inventory for the leased space. It expects to open the facility next fall.

The center will feature the flagship multi-brand Morris Home Furnishings as well as an Ashley Furniture HomeStore, Better Sleep Shop, Morris Big HDTV Store and Morris Clearance Outlet. The stores will be interconnected on the inside and all of them, with the exception of the clearance outlet, also will have exterior entrances.

The retailer opened its first home center along these lines last year in Cincinnati in the former Roberds Grand location, building on to the HomeStore it operated there, "and the response has been fantastic," said Larry Klaben, president and CEO. He said the new location "will allow us bring the same one-stop shopping concept to northern Kentucky."

Morris, which operates 17 stores in Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus and northern Kentucky, is No. 74 on Furniture/Today's Top 100 with estimated furniture, bedding and accessories sales of $67 million in 2010.

Rob Klaben, vice president of marketing, said the company projects the new center will boost annual furniture, bedding and accessories sales by about $14 million.

This year, he said, business for the retailer has swung up and down with the economic news, but that the company is expecting furniture, bedding and accessories sales to finish up 15% over last year, including the results from the new Home Center stores that opened in November 2010.

Florence is an extension of Morris' Cincinnati market, "but what we found was people who live on that side of the (Ohio) river don't necessarily cross over to shop," Klaben said.

"They're seeing our TV commercials and (newspaper ads), but they don't like to go across the river for the most part, so this complements what we just opened."

Key suppliers to the new center, in addition to Ashley, will include Universal (including its Better Homes and Garden and Paula Deen Down Home collections), Cindy Crawford Home, Jonathan Louis, Lea, Aspenhome, La-Z-Boy and Sealy and Stearns & Foster bedding. The center also will include suppliers new to Morris, but the company declined to identify them just yet.

Morris Big HDTV - introduced as The Home Theater Store at Morris at the first home center - will include Sony, LG, and Samsung HDTVs with design and installation services and related motion upholstery and cabinetry.

Rob Klaben noted Morris is in the process of rebranding its Home Theater Store and in-store home theater departments to Morris Big HDTV noting that most consumers today are shopping for the big-screen television and the original Home Theater name didn't really resonate with them.

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