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Conn’s Resumes East Coast Expansion

The retailer has big plans for Virginia.

Virginia is for more than just lovers apparently.

Conn’s, the Texas-based furniture, appliance and CE chain, has taken a keen interest in Old Dominion as the company expands its East Coast footprint.

Fifteen months after planting its flag in Richmond with its first Virginia store, Conn’s is opening up a second beachhead in Virginia Beach with a 37,500-square-foot HomePlus store.

That’s to be followed this fall with new store openings in Portsmouth, Hampton and a second location in Richmond, which will raise the showroom count to 122 HomePlus boxes across 14 states. Conn’s trading area extends from Colorado and New Mexico in the West to the Carolinas and now Virginia Beach in the East.

“As we expand the Conn’s HomePlus footprint on the East Coast, we are excited to increase our presence in Virginia,” said chairman/CEO Norm Miller. “The expansion planned throughout the state will open more opportunities to positively impact the customers and communities we serve.”

Conn’s is resuming its ambitious buildout plans by opening as many as nine new stores in total this year, following a brief hiatus as Miller got the company’s fiscal house in order. During its most recently reported quarter, ended April 30, Conn’s posted a $12.7 million profit, compared with a prior-year loss of $2.6 million, and finally got a handle on its problematic in-house credit unit.

See: Conn’s Resumes Retail Expansion

The return to buildout mode is a testament to Miller, who engineered a dramatic turnaround during his three-year tenure by shoring up the lending division and bringing in a new management team.

See: Conn’s Back From The Brink

The expansion also fills a multiregional void left by hhgregg, another sales-assisted big-box appliance and CE retailer that emulated Conn’s by adding furniture and mattresses to its mix.

In other company news, Conn’s broke ground on a massive 656,658-square-foot, state-of-the-art distribution and customer pick-up center situated on 36 acres in Houston that will supply as many as 45 stores, up from the current capacity of 20. The new DC will be 500 feet deep with 36-foot clear height, and will feature 140 dock doors, 65-foot speed bays, and a queuing lane for truck loading and parking.

“The new distribution center is an important step in continuing the evolution and expansion of our company,” Miller said.