• Clint Engel

Memorial Day stories: Broad River Furniture

Outdoor and bedding shine during record breaking promotion

FORT MILL, S.C. — For Ashley HomeStore licensee Broad River Furniture, a record breaking Memorial Day capped off a great month of business and boosted the retailer’s optimism for summer and the rest of the year.

The 16-store Top 100 company enjoyed same-store sales gains as well as double-digit sales increases, not just for the final four-day push, but for its five-week fiscal month, which started in late April and ended Monday.

“We had some record-breaking performances across our stores,” said Charlie Malouf, president and CEO of the Fort Mill, S.C.-based company with HomeStores in the Carolinas and Georgia.

broad river memorial dayFor the peak Friday-through-Monday period, the retailer blew out a “Buy more, save more” event, offering up to 25% off storewide (vs. on select items) or five-years of no-interest financing. It also offered eight-year interest-free financing on luxury sleep brands, such as Tempur-Pedic and Stearns & Foster, and loosened some finance program restrictions for the holiday, making it easier for customers to finance with zero down and lower minimum purchase requirements.

Broad River also employed a lot of door busters and “hot buys,” such as Ashley’s Hearne sofa for $299 and the Bolanburg louvered queen bed, marked down to $699.

Among the standout categories was Ashley’s new outdoor furniture, which has done well since the retailer introduced it in upfront displays in early spring. And the mattress category stood out again, too, fueled in great part by Tempur-Pedic, Malouf said.

Did the split between competitor Mattress Firm and Tempur Sealy early this year have anything to do with the strong Tempur business?

“It would be really easy for me to say ‘yes,’” Malouf said, “but I think that’s kind of a cop-out answer because we did strong Tempur-Pedic sales Memorial Day weekend last year, too, when Mattress Firm was selling it.”

The split may have had some impact, but Malouf said the solid results probably had more to do with Tempur-Pedic’s strong “Sleep is Power” campaign, including the Serena Williams spots.

“We had people coming in looking for Tempur-Pedic,” he added.

Several of Broad River’s stores were “on fire,” Malouf said. At its first Generation 6.0 format store opened early last year in Durham, N.C., the sales-per-guest metric hit $500 for the fiscal month — a record and “an incredible accomplishment in efficiency and optimizing traffic,” he said.

Sales per guest is a function of conversion rate and average ticket, calculated by dividing a store’s sale volume by customer traffic.

Another milestone: Broad River’s leading salesperson wrote $100,000 in business for the full holiday week, Malouf added.

Some retailers steer clear of looking to Memorial Day for a read into the future, but Malouf said the holiday is an important one, and Broad River sees it as a launch pad for the second half. A poor performance may have prompted the retailer to lower its forecast. Instead, the strong showing reinforces its outlook.

“We think Memorial Day is a beacon for what to expect for the summer and the back half of the year,” he said. “It sets the stage for us to continue to hit our goals and targets.”

Clint EngelClint Engel | Senior Retail Editor, Furniture Today

Please feel free to email or call me with all of your retail news and tips, including expansion news, successful merchandising and marketing strategies and anything else you would like to see covered by Furniture/Today.  Contact me directly at cengel@furnituretoday.com or 336-605-1129.

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