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Anna's Linens preps for store expansion

Gary Evans -- Home Textiles Today, September 24, 2010

Costa Mesa, Calif. - As it looks ahead to its 300th store opening at some point in 2011, Anna's Linens is also preparing for the most aggressive store rollout pace in its history.
Next year, the retailer plans to open 40 new stores, including new and as-yet undisclosed markets.
"We believe we need to be in every major urban market - and we will be," founder and ceo Alan Gladstone told HTT.
Anna's has also launched into ecommerce, which is now the fastest growing part of the business, he said. The site, annaslinens.com, carries much of the merchandise found in stores as well as items the stores don't offer. About 20% of the assortment online is not in Anna's Linens stores.
"We don't want to deviate too much from what makes us special," said Gladstone. Some of the offerings are a little more upscale or there may be more breadth of color or a broader range of sizes, he said.
"We're putting capital behind it," he added. "We're going to have a major expansion on the internet."
The consumer shift to bargain-hunting has benefited the chain, he said, and Anna's is running double-digit comp increases this year.
"We realize the pie is not growing, but we're taking market share," he said. "No question we were a beneficiary of Mervyn's and Linens 'n Things closures. In some categories, we're taking from the mid-tier."
Window is the fastest growing category in the store - one Anna's services with associates on the floor trained to assist customers. "When we run a curtain event, we can sell 100,000 units in a week," he said.
Anna's adds new product to the mix each month - because "our customer wants to see new."

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