Retailer showing example of sleep shop format at Las Vegas Market
This post is originally published at Furniture Today by Clint Engel
LAS VEGAS, January 18, 2015 - Art Van Furniture is taking its PureSleep sleep store format to market here with an aggressive goal of adding 500 franchise stores and in-store departments across the country over the next five years.
The Warren, Mich.-based Top 100 company has taken a 2,200-square-foot space in World Market Center Building B-958 to create a mini Art Van PureSleep showroom.
David Van Elslander, recently promoted to president of Art Van PureSleep, said the showroom is “a little bit more compact” than a typical retail presentation, but “we’ll have all the elements of what we show guests in our stores and the aisles of our furniture stores.”
He described the design as “clean yet visually stimulating.” The stores average about 4,000 square feet and include special display techniques for pillows and protectors and lower priced bedding displayed off the main floor and on racks, a la a Costco or Sam’s Club.
“We’re not really trying to sell just a mattress, so we insist (consumers) use our diagnostic machine, which properly fits them for the right bed,” Van Elslander said.
“It’s a very logical selling system … and once we take other retailers through it, they’ll see that there’s a discipline they’ll have to follow, but if they do, it’s a sure path to success.”
Art Van announced plans to franchise PureSleep in 2011 and opened the first and only franchise location to date in the summer of 2013 in Midland, Mich., with owners David and Lisa Lee. It’s one of 37 freestanding PureSleeps (the others are owned by Art Van) on top of 42 in-store PureSleep galleries in Art Van stores.
With David Van Elslander at the helm of the PureSleep division, there’s a new growth push under way.
“We really think the timing is right now,” Van Elslander told Furniture/Today. “There’s a lot of consolidation going on in our industry, and there seems to be some fear among some of the smaller operators that their businesses are either going to get gobbled up by the big guys or they’ll be forced out.
“Some might think that their only option is to sell out, but we think we have a viable alternative for them and one that’s proven at retail.”
The average unit selling price at the existing PureSleep stores and in-store department combined is about $1,100, and the sales per square foot average is about $1,300, Van Elslander said. Take out the very productive in-store departments, and the average ticket is still high — at about $899, while the average sales per square foot is “north of $300,” he said.
The one PureSleep franchise, even though it’s in a smaller-than-average market for Art Van, is doing well, he said, falling in that same performance ballpark.
“If we’re not doing a million in sales in a 4,000-square-foot store, we’re not really happy with it,” Van Elslander said. “That’s our target.”
In addition to having a strong performance record behind it now, Art Van and PureSleep also have the right team in place for growth, he said. The PureSleep team for now is primarily Van Elslander and Art Van Director of Franchise Operations David Braun. But it’s interviewing for a PureSleep director of franchising and expects to name someone to that position soon.
It’s also building its sales team for the program, looking to get three people in place for the East Coast, the South and the West Coast.
PureSleep has a rough goal of opening about 20 franchise stores and in-store departments this year, although that could shoot higher in the company lands a retailer with a lot of stores interested in converting, Van Elslander said. It’s shooting for 500 PureSleep franchises throughout North America over the next five years — focusing attention on California, Texas, Florida and up the East Coast.
“We’re ready to go,” he said, noting that the company already is licensed in 38 states to offer the franchises.
PureSleep will be talking to existing mattress retailers, furniture stores “and other retailers and entrepreneurs looking for a highly profitable business model,” Van Elslander said. He wouldn’t disclose the average cost or range to own the concept, but said it’s very reasonable compared to other franchises opportunities and is based on a percentage of sales.
Key suppliers and brands for the format include Sealy, Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster, Beautyrest, Kingsdown, and King Koil, the latter also providing private label product for PureSleep.