As promised, TJX opened its first Homesense store this month in Framingham, MA, with layout and merchandising that differ from its Home Goods stores, CNBC reports.
The layout and merchandising is a sort of cross between a home improvement store (with essentials like cleaning supplies) and a home decor store (with furniture and accessories grouped by room and by color), CNBC said. Areas are arranged to mimic the areas of a home, according to CNBC's description.
The concept, which will include four more U.S. stores by the end of the year, was first unveiled (though not then named) in February, when CEO Ernie Herrman said the company would differentiate it from the HomeGoods stores to encourage customers to shop at both.
TJX has promised five Homesense stores nationwide by the end of this year, but that doesn't mean it's neglecting its HomeGoods concept: The company is planning to boost its number of those stores as well, which sell a variety of products like bedding and bathroom supplies, frames, candles and some furniture. Executives have said the two stores will be different enough from each other to avoid cannibalization of the existing chain, first launched by TJX in 1992 and now encompassing 568 stores in 45 states.
Like home improvement sales, home goods sales are benefiting from the strong housing market. HomeGoods in particular has gained traction among U.S. consumers: Though there are far fewer HomeGoods stores than J.C. Penney, Macy’s or Sears stores, female primary household consumers were more likely to shop for housewares there, according to a recent study by Kantar Retail. The move to expand in this area bodes well for TJX, according to analysts at Jane Hali and Associates.
"The home goods sector has been strong across the market and many retailers have opened up floor space to this category," Hali says, according to a note emailed to Retail Dive. "The TJX group has seen positive results in this market across their stores for a few seasons now. Consumers have been spending their dollars in this market (both the millennial and baby boomer consumer groups) and we believe their new concept will bring more positives to their business."
The move also continues TJX's dedication to brick and mortar. The company's off-price T.J. Maxx and Marshal's stores are giving department stores a run for their money in apparel and TJX notably took over Sierra Trading Post in 2012, previously catalog and online only, and has opened stores under that banner.