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Heilig-Meyers Acquires Self-Service Furniture Store

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Heilig-Meyers Furniture, the nation's largest home furnishings chain, has expanded to the Northwest. Heilig-Meyers recently acquired the Self-Service Furniture chain, with stores in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho and California. The new stores, formerly Self-Service Furniture, opened on Wednesday, August 20, as part of a 17-store grand opening throughout the Northwest. "One of our strategies," according to Troy Peery, president and chief operating officer of Heilig-Meyers, "is to acquire well-run furniture chains that operate in small communities and have a loyal customer base. We've found that in our acquisition of Self-Service." Peery also adds that with Heilig-Meyers' national buying power, the chain can bring more merchandise, lower prices and in-store financing to all former Self-Service customers. Store Manager Dennis Walter said customers who shopped the locations under their former owner will be impressed with the changes the furniture stores have undergone. "We've done a lot of work on the interior, trying to turn the stores into more of a showroom for our inventory. We have added merchandise categories and added more selection to our current categories." The new Heilig-Meyers Furniture stores will feature a visual merchandising system of roomlike settings, as well as a variety of products including electronics, appliances, jewelry, seasonal goods, carpet, juvenile items and bedding. In addition, the stores will offer flexible, in-house financing and quick delivery of merchandise. Despite the many cosmetic changes, for the most part, the staff at each store has remained the same. Heilig-Meyers currently operates over 800 stores in 32 states. Of these stores, about 80% are in small cities and town with populations of 50,000 or less. Despite some recent expansion into larger markets, corporate growth will continue to focus on these smaller markets. Continues Peery, "Serving folks in small towns is what got us where we are today. That will never change." In preparation for the stores' grand openings, Heilig-Meyers conducted inventory reduction sales through the summer. New merchandising began in early August. Heilig-Meyers Furniture is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Heilig-Meyers Company, which reported sales of $1.4 billion in 1996. Heilig-Meyers Company went public in 1972 with its stock trading over-the-counter. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In addition to its chain of Heilig-Meyers Furniture stores, Heilig-Meyers Company also operates Rhodes, The RoomStore and Mattress Discounter in the United States, and Berrios in Puerto Rico.

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