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NATM Adding 25 Storefronts In ’05

NATM dealers will follow up last year’s 20-door expansion by opening 25 additional stores this year.

Among those adding new locations is BrandsMart U.S.A., which will open its second Atlanta store and seventh unit in total this October. According to chairman Bob Perlman, the company will also begin retrofitting and remerchandising its Florida stores with such Atlanta innovations as expanded and reconfigured TV display areas; bundled A/V systems; and a conveyor belt that delivers inventory from the warehouse directly to the center of the selling floor.

The expanded TV area, which took space from audio, was necessary to accommodate a blazing video business. “Our TV business is just sick,” said president/CEO Michael Perlman, who noted that BrandsMart now accounts for 2.5 percent of all big-screen TV sales in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Bernie’swill continue its New England build-out by opening three new stores this summer, with the goal of operating 20 by decade’s end, said president Milt Rosenberg, while Queen City’sCEO Chip Player is remodeling three stores, rebuilding one, and adding three additional units over the next 18 to 24 months in his Carolina marketplace.

Also adding doors is R.C. Willey, which opens its first Reno, Nev., store this fall and will enter the California market in 2006 with the first of several planned Sacramento units, said CEO Scott Hymas, and Conn’s, which will expand its six-store beachhead in Dallas with the addition of four more units this year.

Conn’s senior VP/merchandising David Trahan said the chain is enjoying a good quarter, led by stainless steel in white goods; the addition of notebook computers to its power aisle assortment of take-with products; and a booming lawn and garden business — which convinced Cowboy Maloney’s Electric City to add rider mowers to its mix.