The Swarm of Mattress Stores

June 10, 2016

My friend and I were driving through our neighborhood and noticed something strange.

There are A LOT of mattress stores.
Not just in our neighborhood, but all on one street corner. And not just in one street corner, some of them are a couple of doors over in the same strip mall. With the same name!

mattress stores

Stores 1, 2, 3, and 5 on this map are the same company, Mattress Firm. The 4th store being American Mattress. All this from one street corner.

Zooming out, there are a couple more Mattress Firms in this same neighborhood, few Sleepy’s and a bunch of other stores. This not including Ikea, Sears, and the like.

We were wondering how that could be.

Was this a weird mistake?

Is there a super high demand for mattresses in our town?
I thought people only buy mattresses maybe once every 10 years.

Was the same company buying out other smaller firms and renaming them into their own brand? This seemed likely.

Were they all clustered in same location because they know customers like to comparison shop maybe 2-3 stores before buying? This way, they benefit by being next to each other and the same company can own different named stores, to trick the consumer. Also another thing we thought could be true.

Were they buying up small locations because rent is cheaper, but they actually need more space, so they’re snapping up locations next door as they become available?

I also know that direct to consumer mattress companies are becoming very popular on amazon. MUCH lower cost, free shipping and free returns, thus making the shopping experience risk free. So why are more brick and morters popping up?

As luck would have it, Freakonomics podcast has a new episode on this exact phenomenon. I had no idea this was happening nationwide.

Are We in a Mattress Store Bubble? – Freakonomics