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Why Conn’s Likes The Carolinas

In the past couple of years Texas-based Conn’s has extended its reach as far north as Colorado and as far east as the Carolinas in its march to become a 500-plus-store chain.

The furniture, bedding, appliance and CE colossus is particularly fond of the Carolinas, where it currently operates three HomePlus stores each in the North and South states, and plans to open four moreTar Heel locations this year.

What’s so special about that market? Retail president David Trahan recently explained the chain’s rationale to the local Triad Business Journal:

“We’ve been looking at North Carolina and South Carolina for several years,” he noted. “As we expand we ask ourselves, ‘Where is our lookalike customer at? Who has a similar model to us?’ There are actually very few stores [like us] in the area.”

He continued, “We now have a distribution center in Charlotte and just opened a service department there. We’re going to build out the rest of the [North Carolina] market, which allows us to leverage advertising costs … This coming year we’re going to start building up South Carolina as well.”

The company currently operates about 95 stores and has posted mixed sales results this year. Conn’s blames its tepid comps in part to tighter underwriting standards, which were raised to curb creeping delinquency rates that led to losses within its in-house consumer credit segment.