P.C. Richard & Son, best known for appliances and electronics, plans by the spring to be selling mattresses as well in all 66 of its stores, the company president said.
Gregg Richard, who also is chief executive of the 105-year-old Farmingdale-based chain, said in an interview that it began offering mattresses in May in its store in Norwalk, Connecticut. "It's been successful beyond our wildest dreams," he said.
As of Friday, he said, 30 of its 66 stores in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey had full-scale mattress display areas of 2,000 to 3,000 square feet with 25 to 40 samples. The stores include several in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
While there are a few mattresses on display at Richard's clearance center in Deer Park, Richard said he wasn't sure when the first full display would open in a Long Island store. But, he said, by next April or May he expects all stores to have them.
P.C. Richard stores also sell office and audio- and video-related furniture, and the company recently expanded into electronic fireplaces, Richard said.
Retailing consultant Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates Inc. in Manhattan, said the move seems a good one, given Richard's heavy store traffic and its infrastructure for delivering and installing what it sells.
Further, he said, the mattress business isn't as price-sensitive as appliances and electronics, with relatively few purchased via the Internet from retailers such as Amazon.
"If you're in a business that is under tremendous pressure on price," said Davidowitz, "it makes a lot of sense to add on a business with a higher margin possibility."
Said Richard, "We've been thinking about the mattress business for a long time. Customers asked for it. In my mind it's a natural extension of what we do really well."
He said mattress manufacturers were providing training for his salespeople. Richard employs about 2,800 workers.