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HomeSense furnishing chain to open 2 LI stores this year

The new chain, owned by the parent of T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods, will open stores in Commack and Riverhead.

The future site of HomeSense is seen Monday,

The future site of HomeSense is seen Monday, Feb. 5, 2018, in Commack, one of two Long Island locations slated to open this year. Photo Credit: James Carbone

A new-concept chain of home furnishings stores owned by T.J. Maxx’s parent company is breaking into the Long Island market this year.

Discount retailer HomeSense plans to open two locations — the first in the Cosentino Commerce Center in Commack in April, and the second in The Shops at Riverhead in late summer, according to Jeremy Isaacs, a partner in the Jericho office of Ripco Real Estate.

Ripco is the broker for the New York stores of the retailer’s parent company, The TJX Companies Inc. of Framingham, Massachusetts.

TJX also owns other discount stores, including Marshalls, T.J. Maxx and another home furnishings retailer, HomeGoods.

But TJX is betting on home stores these days — and expanding that segment quickly.

“This is a strongly growing market in U.S. retail, and TJX wants a larger slice of it,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of retail at GlobalData, a Manhattan-based market research firm.

Brixmor Property Group, the Manhattan-based developer of the Riverhead shopping center, is the largest landlord for TJX stores nationwide, Brixmor spokeswoman Kristen Moore said.

Marshalls and HomeGoods stores will open in the Riverhead center by early March. A HomeSense will open in about 38,000 square feet of space beside them this summer, Moore said.

The HomeSense opening in Commack will occupy about 23,000 square feet in a new building that TJX is leasing next to Target, said Christine Cosentino, chief financial officer for Cosentino Realty Group, which owns the shopping center in Commack.

HomeGoods and HomeSense are targeting different shoppers.

While HomeGoods is more focused on decor that would be impulse purchases, such as pillows, throws and pictures, “HomeSense is much more about furniture, some of the bigger-ticket items in the room that you would want to upgrade or change,” Saunders said.

As of October, HomeSense had 117 stores in Canada, where it has had a presence since 2001, and 55 stores in Europe, where it launched stores in 2008, according to TJX’s most recent quarterly earnings report.

The HomeSense stores in the United States — the first four opened in New Jersey and Massachusetts in 2017 — are considered a new concept because the locations outside the United States emphasize accents and decorations more, Saunders said.

TJX declined to comment beyond saying it has not announced a new HomeSense store.

The company is in the midst of a major expansion.

From February to October 2017, TJX added 240 stores under its various banners in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, for a total of 4,052 locations, according to its quarterly earnings reports.

In 2017 it opened three stores on Long Island — two HomeGoods stores, in Valley Stream and at Sunrise Mall in Massapequa, and a T.J. Maxx in Elmont, Isaacs said. This year, the company will open a total of seven stores on the Island, including a T.J. Maxx in a former Staples building on Route 112 in Medford and a HomeGoods on Route 110 in Melville, he said.

“It’s just obviously a strong demand for their stores,” Isaacs said.

A retail industry analyst agreed that all of TJX’s brands are in a strong niche.

The company’s stores are in a “value segment” that has done well, even as consumers turn more to the convenience of online shopping, said John Mercer, senior analyst at Fung Global Retail & Technology.

The so-called “retail apocalypse” story has been driven by the closures of stores focused on apparel, while off-price, dollar and grocery stores have shown growth, according to the Manhattan-based research firm. Furthermore, the market for home furnishings has been solid in general, the firm said.

“We identify a dichotomy in consumer behavior, whereby consumers expect greater convenience and added services, while at the same time remain willing to ‘swap’ convenience for savings when they choose to,” Mercer said.

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