Category Archives: Nebraska Furniture Mart

Nebraska Furniture Mart Tops Big Box Retailers on Hot 100 List

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STORES magazine’s Hot 100 Retailers, the annual list ranking the nation’s fastest-growing retailers by year-over-year domestic sales growth, has Berkshire Hathaway’s Nebraska Furniture Mart topping the Big Box retailers rankings.

As proof that retail isn’t dying if you do it properly, Nebraska Furniture Mart was listed at #48 with 8% growth in 2016.

The Home Depot came in at #56; Lowe’s at 78; and Menard’s was on the list at #90.

STORES is the magazine of the National Retail Federation.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Nebraska Furniture Mart Celebrates 80th Birthday

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These days when a company lasts a decade everyone pops champagne, but for Berkshire Hathaway’s Nebraska Furniture Mart this August marks the 80th anniversary of the company’s founding in 1937.

Founded in Omaha by Rose Blumkin (affectionately known as Mrs. B.) the company started in the basement of her husband’s pawn shop with $500 borrowed from relatives.

Mrs. B., despite being only 4 feet 10 inches tall, was legendary for her toughness and work ethic.

Her escape from Russian persecution at the dawn of WWI, when as a passport-less, 23-year-old, store clerk from Minsk she crossed the Chinese-Siberian border by promising the guard she would bring back a bottle of fruit brandy, and her six-week voyage on a peanut boat could in itself be a movie.

Unable to speak English, and as an immigrant unable to get a bank loan, she prided herself as over the years she toppled Omaha’s “Big boys.”

As NFM grew to dominate the Omaha furniture market, Warren Buffett took notice and in 1983 Berkshire Hathaway bought the store for $60 million without even doing any formal due diligence. It didn’t stop Mrs. B. from working seven days a week, and she continued to oversee the store until age 103.

Along with NFM, Berkshire owns three other furniture retailers, including Jordan’s Furniture, R. C. Willey Home Furnishings, and the Star Furniture Company.

Today, NFM is the largest home furnishing store in North America selling furniture, flooring, appliances and electronics, doing volumes with only four mega-stores that put furniture retailers to shame. Make that every other furniture retailer to shame.

The chain has four stores in Omaha, Kansas City, Des Moines, and Dallas, and a valuation of well over $1 billion.

Day-to-day operations are overseen by Tony Boldt as the president and chief operating officer, with Ron Blumkin and his brother Irv Blumkin as chairman and CEO respectively.

While all the stores are large, none is larger than the store in the Dallas area, which opened its doors in March 2015.

The newest Nebraska Furniture Mart in The Colony in Dallas, Texas, was an immediate success and adds roughly $600 million a year to the furniture chain’s revenues, which already had the highest per-store volume of any furniture retailer in the United States.

Boasting a 1.9 million-square-foot facility, and featuring a 560,000-square-foot showroom, the new Dallas NFM dwarfs even the chains other megastores.

The Dallas store is the anchor to Berkshire’s $1.5 billion Grandscape development, the first of its kind for Berkshire. The development is a 400+ acres, 3.9 million square-feet mix of retail, entertainment, dining and attractions that won’t be fully built-out for another decade.

The elaborate Grandscape complex will feature a $45 million boardwalk-themed restaurant district, a hotel and spa, a recently announced 16-screen luxury movie theater, and 1.5 million square feet of residential and office space that is billed as the lifestyle center.

It’s all a long way from Mrs. B.’s basement, and the fact that Grandscape will be another decade before its completed just means that it will be done in time for NFM’s 90th anniversary.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Star Furniture Names New CEO

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Houston-based Star Furniture has chosen Bob Price as its new CEO.

Price had been senior vice president of merchandising and inventory management at Art Van Furniture, and has more than four decades of experience in the retail sector, including 30 years at JC Penney.

“Bob is the right person to lead Star into its second century. While we conducted a nationwide search to fill this important position, it became clear that Bob met every criterion for this position,” said Irv Blumkin, Star’s Chairman of the Board. Blumkin is also CEO of Nebraska Furniture Mart.

Founded in the early 1900s by several men that pooled their money to purchase a horse and wagon to deliver furniture, Star Furniture became a retail store in 1912. The company currently has 11 stores, and is currently ranked fourth in the U.S. in furniture sales.

The company was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 1997.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Home Furnishings Forecast Means Positive Outlook for Berkshire’s Furniture Retailers

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Berkshire Hathaway’s furniture retailing companies, which include Nebraska Furniture Mart, Jordan’s, and R.C. Wiley, will benefit from strong projected growth in the home furniture market.

Home furniture includes beds and mattresses, tables and table tops, desks, chairs, storage cabinets, sofas, and other furniture that are used to make a house or building a comfortable place to live.

In a new report from Research and Markets, “Home Furniture Market in the US 2017-2021,” the global luxury furniture market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.14% during the period from 2017-2021.

According to the report, one driver in the market is improving residential construction market. The real estate industry in the US is expected to drive the home furniture market in the next few years. This will be due to the increasing number of people engaging in household formation. There has been a significant rise in the number of women joining the workforce and living independently. As a result, there is a rising need for service apartments and single story houses.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire’s Furniture Retailers to Benefit from Growth in Luxury Furniture Market

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Berkshire Hathaway’s furniture retailing companies, which include Nebraska Furniture Mart, Jordan’s, and R.C. Wiley, will benefit from projected growth in the luxury furniture market.

In a new report from Research and Markets, “Global Luxury Furniture Market 2017-2021,” the global luxury furniture market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.92% during the period from 2017-2021.

The report notes that one of the strongest trends demand for eco-friendly and green furnishings.

“Consumers are currently showing more preference toward eco-friendly furniture such as those made from Moso bamboo, which is harder and more durable than oak. These materials also allow designers to obtain an aesthetic look for their products.”

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Grandscape to Add 100-Acre Lifestyle Center

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Grandscape, Berkshire Hathaway’s giant mixed-use real estate development in The Colony, Texas, has broken ground on 1.5 million square feet of residential and office space that is billed as the lifestyle center for the development.

The lifestyle center will feature a luxury high-rise apartment tower that will also have retail and office space.

Located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Grandscape is being developed by Berkshire’s Nebraska Furniture Mart, and is home to its 1.86 million square foot store, which opened in 2015.

Berkshire is on a ten-year-plan to fill out the Grandscape property, with anchor retail and entertainment all on a Texas-sized scale.

In January, Galaxy Theatres agreed to build and operate an 85,000+ sf, 16-screen movie venue in the lifestyle center. The opening is scheduled for 2019.

Another anchor retailer that is already signed is Scheels All Sports, which is certainly familiar with the mega-sized nature of Grandscape.

Scheels currently operates the “World’s Largest All Sports Store,” which is located in Reno/Sparks, Nevada. No word yet whether the Grandscape store will eclipse it.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Grandscape to Add Massive 16-Screen Movie Complex

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The old saying is that everything’s bigger in Texas, and that sure applies to Berkshire Hathaway’s Grandscape commercial real estate development.

Grandscape, Berkshire giant mixed-use real estate development in The Colony, Texas, continues to fill out its tenants and will add an 85,000+ sf, 16-screen movie venue. The entertainment center is projected to open in the spring of 2019.

The movie complex will be owned and operated by Galaxy Theatres, LLC, a fully integrated movie theatre company. Galaxy Theatres is privately owned, and is in the top 10% ranked by size of its industry according to the National Theatre Association. It currently has theatres in California, Nevada, Texas and Washington.

Located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Grandscape is being developed by Berkshire’s Nebraska Furniture Mart, and is home to its 1.86 million square foot store, which opened in 2015.

When fully developed, Grandscape will cover 400+ acres with 3.9 million square feet of retail, entertainment, dining, hospitality, office and attractions.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Dallas Nebraska Furniture Mart Lives Up To Its Promise

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When Berkshire Hathaway opened its newest Nebraska Furniture Mart in The Colony in Dallas, Texas, the goal was to generate an additional $600 million a year for the furniture chain, which already has the highest per-store volume of any furniture  retailer in the United States.

Boasting a 1.9 million-square-foot facility, and featuring a 560,000-square-foot showroom, the new Dallas NFM dwarfs even the chains other megastores in Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City, Kansas; and Des Moines, Iowa.

Now, it looks like Berkshire is meeting its goal.

The newest NFM generated roughly $500 million in revenue last year despite having only been open since March 2015.

According to Berkshire’s 2015 annual report, the new store had an immediate impact.

“Revenues of our home furnishings retailers in 2015 increased $572 million (24%) over 2014, driven by Nebraska Furniture Mart, which opened a new store in March of 2015, and from increases at R.C. Willey and Jordan’s.”

NFM’s Biggest Challenge Isn’t Amazon

Unlike many companies that see Amazon and the internet as the big hurdle these days for brick and mortar retailers, NFM says its biggest hurdle is making customers aware that it sells things besides furniture. After all, the company has furniture in its name. When customers get in the store the discover it has one of the most extensive selections of appliances of any retailer.

Flying in the face of the adage that the era of the mall is dead, with retail migrating more and more to the internet, NFM has crafted a powerful regional draw that takes up lots of actual physical space rather than just cyberspace.

The new Dallas store is part of a 400+ acres, 3.9 million square-feet mix of retail, entertainment, dining and attractions that is going by the name of Grandscape.

In addition to retail, the mixed-use real estate development, which will have a ten year build out, will include a hotel and amphitheater, office space, and ±300 multi-family units.

Also included in the development is a $45 million “boardwalk,” district that abuts an 11-acre manmade lake.

NFM is betting that 18 million visitors will come to Grandscape each year, with 8 million of those visitors hopefully shopping at Nebraska Furniture Mart.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire’s Furniture Retailing Revenues Soar in 2015

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Berkshire Hathaway’s furniture retailing companies, which include Jordan’s, Nebraska Furniture Mart, R.C. Willey, and Star Furniture, delivered stellar results in 2015, with Berkshire’s revenues from retail rocketing up 64% to $564 million.

Much of the increase was due to the opening of the massive new Nebraska Furniture Mart in Dallas, Texas.

Proving that everything’s bigger in Texas, the mega-store boasts a 560,000-square-foot retail showroom and 58 acres of parking. The store’s massive loading area can load 120 cars simultaneously.

Before the new store opened, Berkshire was predicting that it would have annual revenues of $600 million, which is $200 million more than Nebraska Furniture Mart’s Kansas City store generates.

Shareholders Generate Spectacular Furniture Sales

Some of Berkshire’s millions in furniture sales come from the more than 40,000 shareholders that descend on Omaha every May for the conglomerate’s annual meeting.

In his 2015 annual letter to shareholders, Warren Buffett encouraged the shareholders to use their Berkshire Hathaway shareholder discount, which is good for the week of the annual meeting.

“Last year in the week encompassing the meeting, the store did a record $44,239,493 of business,” Buffett explained. “If you repeat that figure to a retailer, he is not going to believe you.”

Buffett went on to say that an average week for the store was roughly $9 million in sales, a figure that by itself would have any other furniture retailer in the stratosphere.

© 2016 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Need Your Cellphone Repaired? Head to Nebraska Furniture Mart

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People in Omaha, Kansas City and Dallas have been packing Nebraska Furniture Mart’s stores to buy everything from couches to washing machines, and now they can get their cellphone and tablets repaired while they shop.

Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) has brought Phone Surgeons, a nationwide network of mobile device technicians, into its stores to do in-store repairs on smartphones and tablets.

Phone Surgeons repairs smartphones and tablets in branded walk-in service centers (Emergency Rooms) and in store-inside-store kiosks (Urgent Cares) in partnerships with big box retailers. Additionally, the company has a fleet of certified Emergency Mobile Techs (E.M.T.’s) serves clients.

Founded in 2011 by wireless store owner Chris Jourdan, the company has more than 50 franchised and company-owned walk-in clinics and big-box in-store kiosks, along with a fleet of over 100 service-call techs.

NFM has set up mobile repair stations, “Urgent Cares,” in or near its wireless departments at its Omaha, Kansas City and new Dallas stores.

Phone Surgeons technicians can replace screens, batteries, charging ports, jacks, buttons and sensors; backup and data recovery; and repair water-damaged devices for all makes, models, operating systems and carriers.

Phone Surgeons boasts that it can do same-day repairs, with most performed in under an hour, and offers a free diagnosis and estimate.

© 2015 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.