As retailers close en masse across the country, Mattress Firm has expanded aggressively, with 1,500 new stores since 2010. The retailer's fraud allegations against the men making its real estate decisions have raised new questions about the company's aggressive growth.
Retailers have been shuttering locations by the hundreds across the country, but mattress stores, and Mattress Firm in particular, have aggressively grown. As retailer bankruptcies like Blockbuster and RadioShack have piled up, Mattress Firm has often been willing to fill their vacant storefronts. As a result, the company's locations appear in dense clusters all across America. The clustered locations have come under new scrutiny in the wake of a lawsuit Mattress Firm filed in Harris County, Texas, against two of its former real estate executives, its outside broker and a group of developers. In the suit, Mattress Firm alleges Colliers International Vice President Alexander Deitch and two of the retailer's former in-house real estate executives, Bruce Levy and Ryan Vinson, were responsible for about 1,500 new stores during their time leading Mattress Firm's real estate efforts, as well as hundreds more lease renewals. “It's quite obvious [Mattress Firm] expanded too quickly," said Transwestern Director of Research Stuart Showers, also based in Houston. "They pushed very hard for growth, so it made it easy to cover [the alleged fraud] up. A lot of these locations don't make much sense. They're deals just to get a deal done." In its hometown of Houston, Mattress Firm operates three stores at Interstate 45 and West Road, all on the northwest corner of the intersection. In Montrose, Mattress Firm operates five locations in roughly one square mile, two of which are right next door to each other. Mattress Firm CEO Ken Murphy, said for the company’s best markets, Mattress Firm aims to have one store for about every 50,000 people. In Schereville, Indiana — population 28,000 — Mattress Firm has five stores less than a block apart. Mattress Firm operates another six stores on a one-mile stretch in Naperville, Indiana. Five more operate within a mile of each other in Spokane, Washington. In Atlanta, on Moreland Avenue, two Mattress Firms operate across the street from each other with identical hours. Mattress Firm has four locations within two blocks of Boise Town Square in Idaho. The list goes on. “If you see a Mattress Firm, there’s likely another close by,” NAI Partners Retail Senior Vice President Jason Gaines said.