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Linder’s Planning Major Expansion

Linder’s Furniture, the Southern California home furnishings and consumer electronics chain, soft-opened its first superstore last week as part of a major expansion planned for this year.

The nearly 50,000-square-foot showroom, located here in a former Wickes Furniture site, represents a new direction for the 10-store company, which intends to focus on the superstore format. The store was the largest in the Wickes chain, board director Tom Campbell told TWICE, and became available after that company liquidated in 2008.

According to Linder’s president Eric Foucrier, the expansion reflects management’s confidence in a strengthening U.S. and Southern California economy. “We feel good about the economy and the industry,” he said. “The economy is turning around, and it’s the right time and the right place to pick up some real estate.”

Foucrier said CE, including new 3D TV models, will continue to play an important role in the company’s presentation and product assortment, where it presently represents more than 10 percent of the sales mix.

Campbell said the new store, like its predecessors, integrates CE and furniture within room vignettes, and allows customers to “see, feel, touch and use CE products” while reclining on a bed or sofa. “It’s an experience they can’t get on the Internet,” he said. A grand opening is planned for March.

A member of the Home Entertainment Source (HES) buying group, Linder’s currently carries lines by LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic and Yamaha. Linder’s CE sales were up in 2009, led by its LG business which rose 60 percent last year, Campbell said.

Linder’s eight showrooms range in size from 25,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet. The Garden Grove, Calif.-based company also maintains two outlet centers.