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Art Van Furniture to acquire 28-store Mattress World

Will give chain its first stores outside Michigan

WARREN, Mich. — Art Van Furniture said Wednesday it plans to by the 28-store Mattress World Stores of Howell, Mich., expanding its standalone bedding store presence and growing outside Michigan for the first time in its 52-year history.

The Top 100 company said the deal will close on May 17. Terms of the deal with owners Karry Allison and Paul Briggs were not disclosed.

Founded in 1996, Mattress World operates 21 stores in Michigan and seven in Indianapolis, appealing "to a value conscious consumer who is interested in national brands at the lowest prices, selling brands such as Tempur-Pedic, Simmons, Sealy and Serta," Art Van said in a release.

"This purchase agreement will give Art Van, which sells one out of two mattresses in the state of Michigan, an opportunity to reach another segment of the market," the retailer said in a release.

"We're very excited about this purchase agreement," founder and Chairman Art Van Elslander said. "In terms of business, it makes great sense for us. Mattresses are one of our core businesses. Art Van is the No. 1 furniture store mattress retailer in the state. This now positions us to be the No. 1 specialty mattress store in Michigan."

Art Van said it will keep the name Mattress World and the chain's approximately 100 employees, although the owners will not stay on.

The stores will be the retailer's second bedding store banner along with Art Van PureSleep. Where it makes sense, the company said, it may convert Mattress World locations to PureSleep.

Two bedding brands that Mattress World carries but PureSleep doesn't are Five Star and Serta.

Asked if all stores will remain open, Art Van said it is doing a 60-day assessment before making any decisions. Armando Murillo, who currently leads Art Van PureSleep development, also will head the Mattress World division.

Art Van would not disclose its estimate of what the new stores will add to the retailer's annual sales. With 36 total stores at year end, Furniture/Today estimates Art Van's 2010 furniture, bedding and accessories sales at $430 million.

In the past year Art Van converted the mattress aisles inside its 34 Art Van full-line showrooms to Art Van PureSleep departments and opened three freestanding PureSleep stores.

Mattress World entered Indianapolis in 2009 with its acquisition of seven former Mattress Gallery locations in the area. Asked if Art Van is looking for further expansion outside Michigan now that it has dipped its toe into Indianapolis, CEO Kim Yost said, "We are always looking."

"Nothing is out of the realm of possibility, but our focus for the next 60 days will be Mattress World in Michigan and Indianapolis," he said.

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