Conn's Combines White Goods, Brown Goods And Everything In Between

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Conn's, the Texas-based white- and brown-goods chain, is distinguishing itself from its majap and CE rivals by expanding into new categories that have helped it weather the challenging appliance and flat-panel environment.

Last month the NATM member invited attendees at the buying group's annual meeting in Grapevine, Texas, to visit a nearby store to see how it presents its increasingly complex assortment.

The 22,000-square-foot facility, sandwiched here between a Costco and a Fry's, posits TVs on the left and white goods on the right, with furniture, bedding and lawn care — three progressively more important categories for the chain — across the rear. The store's front and central sections contain a broad mix of computers, portable CE, accessories and small appliances. Newer-format stores expand the furniture department into the central area for greater category exposure and increased floor space, executives said.

The Arlington store is a transitional format that improves upon older locations with brighter lights; cleaner sight lines; a higher, exposed ceiling; and greater use of majap bundles and furniture vignettes. Besides expanding the furnishings area, later iterations double-stack 50-inch and smaller flat-panel TVs, rather than display them on the single-level step stage that rings this store's left-side walls.

Aside from product mix, the 63-store chain continues to differentiate itself by offering customers in-house credit.

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