Weekends Only off to brisk start in new store
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, April 4, 2011
The promotional to midpriced store, which is open for business Fridays through Sundays, is offering expanded category displays, more room settings and an especially strong home accents business in the new location.
Despite severe weather - including torrential rains - every weekend for the retailer has been good with traffic averaging 3,400 to 3,500 customer group visits a weekend, said Tom Phillips, CEO of the five-store St. Louis-area chain.
"It's been very strong, very positive," he said, adding that sales for the store - a 113,000-square-foot former Home Depot Expo with nearly 70,000 square feet of selling space - are tracking in the neighborhood of $16 million to $18 million for its first full year.
Weekends Only offers overstocks, truckload purchases and other types of special buys in a low-frills environment and at bargain prices.
As the brand becomes better known in the Manchester area, Phillips said, the store should end up doing $20 million or more in annual sales. He has projected that the store could propel the retailer to sales of more than $65 million this year.
The Top 100 company did an estimated $47.9 million in furniture, bedding and accessories sales last year, up from an estimated $45.6 million in 2009.
"We're new to this particular market," Phillips said. "It's our best location yet because it has co-tenancy next to some of the nation's strongest retailers," including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Costco and Bed, Bath and Beyond.
The store is located near what's probably the busiest intersection in Missouri, he said.
Manchester is the retailer's fifth store. Previous stories referred to it as the sixth unit, but the company closed its smallest store in Gravois, Mo., late last year before the new store opened.
Phillips has said the new store is a prototype for future units. He added that because of its location, it will broaden the retailer's consumer base to include more affluent customers.
The new showroom has 15,000 square feet more selling space than the next largest Weekends Only. With the added space, the company has expanded some of its most popular categories, including motion sectionals, leather upholstery, and youth bedrooms.
For help with the interior layout, Weekends Only hired Design Forum, a firm that has worked on other industry projects including Nebraska Furniture Mart's Kansas City, Kan., store and NFM's Homemaker's showroom in Des Moines, Iowa.
"It's a more visually compelling layout," Phillips said. It's still laid out by product category, he said, but the departments are larger and include more room settings.
A new home accents area called World Bazaar has been a standout, featuring everything from gifts and pillows to lighting, wall art and other accessories. In the early weeks, the department has accounted for more than 10% of the store's sales, while the retailer's other stores - where lighting, rugs and accessories are separated - typically do less than 5% of sales in home accents, Phillips said.
"It's turning out to be one of the most shopped areas of the store," he said, adding that the retailer will look for ways to adapt the concept to work in its other stores.
On opening weekend, the Manchester store had almost 4,000 visitors come through, and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri joined in on the ribbon cutting.
- Feb 20, 2012
- Oct 28, 2010
- Oct 4, 2013