• Clint Engel

Bob’s signs leases for 6 new L.A.-area stores

MANCHESTER, Conn. — Bob’s Discount Furniture has nailed down the leases on its first six Los Angeles-area stores opening early next year — taking advantage of some non-furniture retail consolidation in the process.

The Top 100 company told Furniture Today its first California stores will open in Long Beach, West Hills, Valencia, Baldwin Park, Huntington Beach and Midtown in Los Angeles during the first quarter.

Bob’s wants to hold the grand opening for all six at the same time, a spokesman said. The showrooms will range from about 24,000 square feet in Baldwin Park to 50,000 square feet in Huntington Beach, he said. To serve the market, the retailer already had secured an 806,000-square-foot distribution center facility in San Bernardino, Calif., that it will begin filling with stock in October.

Four of the first retail properties to open were vacated by Sports Chalet, a former sporting goods company that shut down after its parent filed for bankruptcy protection in 2016. The Baldwin Park location was an Office Depot, and the Midtown store was a former Sports Authority — another shuttered sporting goods chain hampered in part by the continuing rising tide of Amazon and e-commerce shopping.

“There will be more (L.A.-area stores opening before) before the end of the year,” the spokesman said. It also expects to fill in other existing markets over the course of next year but declined to elaborate on either plan.

The fast-growing Bob’s first announced its California plans in mid-January — its biggest geographic leap, even as the retailer was staking out new ground in markets such as Milwaukee, Indianapolis and St. Louis. Last year the Bob’s opened a net 12 stores, including its first eight in greater Chicago, and ended the year with 76 stores in 15 Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest states and estimated furniture, bedding and accessory sales of $1.16 billion.

This year, Bob’s has opened a net 11 stores to date, and by Labor Day, it will boost its store count to 89 with the opening of a store in Appleton, Wis., and a third St. Louis-area store.

Its acquisition of former non-furniture retail leases in Southern California fits a pattern emerging among several Top 100 furniture stores currently in expansion mode. They’re finding real estate opportunity in the wake of office superstores, bookstores, electronics and appliance retailers and sporting goods stores feeling the brunt of shifting consumer shopping and buying habits.

Bob’s, Levin Furniture and Big Sandy Superstore, for instance have picked up locations this year that were previously occupied by the now closed electronics, appliance and furniture chain Hhgregg, while FFO Home is opening in former Office Depot, OfficeMax and Hastings bookstore spaces.

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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