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At Home doesn’t sell products online. How is the retailer succeeding?


As most retailers shutter stores and fight to keep customers, chain home decor store At Home is expanding across the U.S. — opening its first Dayton area location.

At Home Group Inc. opened its newest location at 4480 Indian Ripple Road in Beavercreek on Wednesday, and the company will host an open house on Feb. 17 for the community. This is the seventh location in the state and the 150th store opening nationwide.

“As we strategically grow our national footprint, we are excited to continue our expansion into the Dayton market,” said Lee Bird, At Home chairman and CEO.

» FIRST LOOK: Inside Dayton’s new At Home store

Last year, At Home opened 28 stores, bringing about 25 to 30 jobs to each new store. The Beavercreek location is a 100,000-square-foot superstore with more than 50,000 home decor items. The store sells everything from furniture, mirrors, rugs and art to tabletop, patio and seasonal decor.

“At Home has the widest selection of home decor items, and we are dedicated to inspiring you to refresh, play and experiment with home decor that reflects your unique personality and style,” said Ed Hinkle, Beavercreek At Home store director.

At Home, which became a public company more than a year ago, has managed to continuously grow store sales as other retailers struggle to compete. More than 12,000 stores are expected to close in 2018 — up from roughly 9,000 in 2017, according to Cushman & Wakefield, a marketing and data analysis firm.

» TRENDING BUSINESS: LIST: Bon-Ton announces store closing locations

At Home doesn’t even have an e-commerce website. Customers can view products online with prices but they have to physically go to a store to pick out and pay for the item. Approximately 85 percent of At Home’s customers are women, and “the most important thing she looks for when shopping for home decor is the lowest price, largest assortment, and to be able to see touch and feel the merchandise - and to buy it immediately,” Bird told Chain Store Age.

Overall, the home furnishings market, which is worth about $180 billion in annual revenue nationwide, continues to see growth every year, according to a IBIS World market research report. Annual growth in the industry is expected to increase by 3 percent.

The home decor retailer’s net sales grew nearly 25 percent to $213.0 million from $170.7 million during the same time in 2016. The gains have been driven by the addition of 22 stores since the third quarter of fiscal 2017 and a comparable store sales increase of more than 7 percent.

“We have a very low-cost structure and an efficient business model that allows us to offer low prices. And our secret sauce is our people,” Bird told Chain Store Age.

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