Rooms To Go plans to open 16 new stores
Expansion will take place over next 18 months
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, February 10, 2010

SEFFNER, Fla. — With two new distribution centers in place and hints that the economic climate is improving, Rooms To Go plans to open 16 new stores over the next 18 months, its biggest growth push in at least the last three years. 
Jeff Seaman, CEO of the 121-store Top 100 company, said the growth will boost its store count by about a dozen units.

The rest will be replacement stores, as the retailer converts some of its oldest and smaller showrooms to the updated 35,000- to 40,000-square-foot formats, most including attached Rooms To Go Kids & Teens showrooms. About three of the former Rhodes locations that RTG acquired in 2005 will be replaced with new stores, including the showroom in Mobile, Ala.

Roughly half of the net growth will come in Texas, including two new markets Seaman wouldn't identify. About three stores will open in Florida - including new market Destin - and the others will be in Georgia and Alabama, he said.

The midpriced RTG opened a 35,000-square-foot store in McAllen in South Texas in November and its fifth Houston-area store last month in Katy, but neither is counted in the 16-store expansion.

New stores are already under construction in Houston and Dallas and in the Perimeter Mall area of metro Atlanta, where RTG is filling out existing territory and expects to open within six months. In addition, a 30,000-square-foot Sarasota, Fla., store will soon be under construction to replace what Seaman called a "vintage 1991" showroom, probably by the end of the year.

Seaman said his company started to see a turn for the better in business this past fall. Part of it had to do with easy-to-beat comparison numbers from 2008, "but it's definitely taking a tick up," he said.

Some of the expansion, including in Houston, has been planned for a while, but Seaman said the company slowed the pace of growth. It first wanted to finish two new distribution centers, an 850,000-square-foot facility in the New Orleans area that opened last year, and a 1 million-square-foot center in Houston that just came online, so it could support new business.

Also, "we wanted to get a little more visibility on the economy," he said.
"I'm feeling better (about business)," Seaman added. "I think it's going to be a slow slog out of it, but there's no doubt things are a little better."

For 2009, he estimated sales came in at about $1.35 billion for the company, down about 11% from the year before. RTG operates stores throughout economically hard hit Florida as well as in Georgia, the Carolinas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Alabama.
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Salvaged wood gets new life through Turning House Furniture more...                   By AMANDA BUCK

 
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Furniture related News articles of Interest
The Forest Friendly Furniture Guide
February 07, 2008

Forest friendly furniture purchasing guide.

Auckland, New Zealand — Ever wonder where your beautiful BBQ table came from? Greenpeace NZ along with the Indonesia Human Rights Committee has released a new ‘Guide to Forest Friendly Outdoor Furniture Retailers‘. It shows that the majority of outdoor timber furniture sold in New Zealand is contributing to the destruction of tropical forests in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

The Guide ranks 19 leading outdoor furniture retailers in New Zealand on their policies and practice on eliminating the sale of timber products that are from illegal and destructive sources. The top four retailers on the scorecard are The Warehouse (1st), Briscoes (2nd), Bunnings (3rd) and Mitre 10 (4th). Mr Kwila (18th) and Design Warehouse in Auckland (19th) were at the bottom of the table.

Currently New Zealand timber retailers are a law unto themselves, there are no government regulations in place to stop illegal and destructive rainforest timber from entering the market place.

Some companies are voluntarily acting to protect the world’s remaining forests so we give them a big thumbs up but Government laws are needed to force the lazy companies to stop importing destructively logged timber.

The worst wood on the market which is used extensively for both outdoor furniture and decking is the tropical timber kwila, (also known as Merbau), virtually all kwila on the market is from illegal sources in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

People don’t realise that the timber furniture they’re buying could be pushing tropical forests, indigenous communities, the climate and unique animals like the orangutan to the brink of extinction.

Our new guide aims to help people choose furniture that is not from destructive sources.

Approximately NZ$20 million of kwila decking and outdoor furniture is imported into New Zealand every year and this amount is increasing.

Say no to kwila when you next go shopping for outdoor furniture or timber, there are alternatives; ask for ‘Good Wood’ products made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or verified legal wood, and buy NZ made if possible.

Much of it comes from Indonesia where forests are being logged faster than any other forested nation. Globally deforestation contributes approximately 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

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