Bealls Inc. is launching a new chain of home stores called Home Centric.
More and more retail is shifting online, but one area company seeks to buck that trend.
Bradenton-based Bealls Inc., with $1.3 billion in revenue in 2016 and over 500 retail stores in the Southern and Eastern U.S., including Bealls, Bealls Outlet and Burkes Outlet, hopes to do that with Home Centric. A new chain of stores focused on home goods, the first Home Centric store will open in early May in Cary, N.C.
“I think brick and mortar is not going to go away," Bealls Inc. spokeswoman Karen Filips says. "It’s just going to change, and we have to learn how to change with it.”
Filips tells Coffee Talk that Bealls, to facilitate that change, has been testing the growth of the home market for a couple years. Those tests included 18 store-within-a-store concepts at Bealls Outlets. The home sections in each of those stores, primarily in Florida, were expanded to include a larger assortment of home items. The results were successful, she says, with home goods sales significantly higher than prior to the expanded section.
Within 12 months, Bealls plans to open five Home Centric stores. Other potential future locations include Fort Myers and Germantown, Tenn.
Filips expects the stores to be popular in Florida with people who have guests stay with them and with people who rent out their homes to tourists. Home Centric stores and sections within Bealls Outlet stores in Florida will have décor and home items that speak to the state’s coastal lifestyle, she says.
In the central North Carolina city of Cary, the selection will be different and could include items related to farms, animals, mountains or lakes, Filips says. “We’re very good at going into the area and understanding that market.”
Despite general retail industry challenges, Home Centric stores aim to take advantage of what Filips says is a larger retail trend of selling more in-store home products. Bealls is also counting on the ever-present need for home essentials like sheets and towels as it rolls out more Home Centric stores. “Decorating your home is an easy way to change things up,” she says. “It doesn’t need to break the bank. There are things you always need for your home.”