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Wayfair opens first physical location

US online furniture retailer Wayfair has opened its first bricks-and-mortar location after testing pop-up stores over the holiday period.

The approximately 1850sqm permanent store is located in an outlet centre in Florence, Kentucky, near the company’s distribution centre, according to Chain Store Age.

The store will sell items that have been returned but are still in good condition, as well as discounted items, according to Chain Store Age’s report.

It follows two pop-up shops that Wayfair opened on the East Coast of the US over the Christmas trading period, in Natick Mall, Massachusetts, and Westfield Garden State Plaza, New Jersey.

“For the first time ever, shoppers will be able to step into the world of Wayfair,” Ed Macri, Wayfair chief product and marketing officer, said at the time the pop-ups were announced.

“We’re excited to connect with shoppers face-to-face and introduce them to the endless possibilities in shopping for home.”

The online business reached US$5.7 billion in net revenue across the 12 months to 30 June 2018.

Temple & Webster expanding physical presence

The model is similar to one that local online furniture retailer Temple & Webster operates in Richmond, Melbourne. The store, which Temple & Webster took over after integrating the Milan Direct business more fully into its operations, was previously a showroom before the company settled on an outlet store model.

Temple & Webster continues to experiment with bricks-and-mortar concepts and is opening a by-appointment only trade and commercial showroom in Sydney soon.

“That will be a much more full service offering,” Temple & Webster chief executive Mark Coulter told IRN.

“[It would be] targeting those bigger customers who have bigger projects. We’re having good success with online sales in those customers, but I think as the order value gets bigger and as the order gets more complicated, having a physical space for someone to meet an account manager will help.”

Coulter stressed that the endeavour will be a pilot project, and not part of a wider push into bricks-and-mortar.

“I think the main game for us is going to be online for a very long time,” Coulter said.


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