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Conn’s Opening Its First S. Carolina Stores

FLORENCE, S.C. – Conn’s is expected to enter South Carolina next month as part of its aggressive five-state expansion plan for 2014.

A local newspaper, GSA Business, has identified two forthcoming markets, including this small city located along the busy I-95 corridor in northeastern part of the state.

Another store will grand-open in August about 200 miles away in the upstate city of Greenville, S.C., the newspaper said. Renovations have already begun on the 35,621-square-foot site, a former Babies “R” Us that anchored its host strip mall.

Conn’s reported in a recent 10-K filing that it would soon open a distribution center in The Palmetto State. Based on the company’s current spoke-and-wheel expansion model in Colorado, the warehouse may support an initial wave of six South Carolina big-box stores.

In addition to those two states, the retailer also plans to enter Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina and Tennessee this year. The build-out compelled Conn’s to leave its longtime buying group, NATM Corp., last month to avoid territorial conflicts with other members.

In other Conn’s news, the furniture, majap and CE chain said it has added super-premium Tempur-Pedic mattresses to its bedding assortment, and will carry six SKUs, priced between $2,000 and $3,500 queen size, in all HomePlus format stores.

Conn’s said this latest addition furthers its presence in the mattress category, which has helped drive growth in recent years. Its performance was bolstered in 2012 with the introduction of the Sealy line, it said, and last year sales for its high-margin furniture and mattress business rose more than 75 percent.

“We are looking forward to adding such a reputable brand to our assortment of mattresses,” said retail president David Trahan.