Mattress company Purple has expanded its partnership with Mattress Firm to 16 stores in San Francisco, according to a press release e-mailed to Retail Dive. Last month, Mattress Firm began selling Purple through its Chicago stores.
The tie-up began last year when Mattress Firm began selling Purple mattresses in Sacramento, Austin and Washington DC.
The online mattress startup is profitable, reporting some $190 million in net revenue last year, two years after the launch of its first mattress, the company said. Mattress Firm, meanwhile, late last year announced it would shutter about 200 stores as part of a restructuring effort.
Purple, established in 2016, is among the bed-in-a-box startups that have disrupted legacy retailers like Mattress Firm, but going into business together could solve problems for each of them.
It's not just the quality of the bedding offered by online pure-plays like Purple and its rivals Casper, Leesa, Yogabed and Tuft & Needle, but also the shopping experience. For years, mattress manufacturers and retailers kept consumers on their toes by selling various models and versions of mattresses at a variety of prices, instituting a series of sales and markdowns that made it difficult for consumers to price compare.
The new companies cut through all that by eschewing special sales or markdown events in favor of keeping their "mattress-fits-most" offers in basic bed sizes at one price each and offering long try-out times and free returns. But, despite liberal try-out and refund policies, they are also increasingly turning to brick and mortar to make choosing a mattress easier.
That's led to pop-ups and partnerships with more traditional retailers. Target, for example, displays and sells bedding from startup Casper Mattress on its site and in stores, and reportedly almost bought the company outright for $1 billion. Williams-Sonoma brands West Elm and Pottery Barn have also partnered up with Leesa Sleep, and in February Casper opened its first stand-alone store.
Mattress Firm, meanwhile, was acquired by Steinhoff two years ago, after buying rival The Sleep Train in 2014, which operated 310 stores, for $425 million, a move that increased its costs over sales. But it's still the largest specialty mattress retailer in the U.S., with 3,000 stores nationwide.
That's a lot of stores, and could give Purple, which claims that it develops its mattresses using "comfort science," quite a boost.