By Erin Harris, Integrated Solutions For Retailers magazine
New retailers will find surprisingly hospitable conditions right now. Indeed, the greatest opportunity for new retailers is in vacant spaces where national operators have abandoned fairly new store build-outs due to the wrath of the recession. For nimble local and regional operators, these spaces help overcome the lack of standardized store designs. And so it goes with Linens & More For Less!, a home furnishings superstore with eight locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. Last year, the brains behind Linens & More For Less! turned a bright idea into a fully functional retail operation in six months by inhabiting big box stores abandoned by a retail chain with a similar product offering. The enormity of the project's time frame is remarkable, considering the normal opening of a new retail establishment can take a year or more. William A. Novicki, CFO and VP of finance, and Richard Schwarz, MIS director at Linens & More For Less!, describe why operating the entire organization — from POs to gift cards — on a single automated retail management system has generated millions for Linens & More For Less! and why there's room for growth.