Lumber Liquidators points to 300 stores by 2012

Lumber Liquidators, the 125-store specialty retailer of hardware flooring, hopes to grow to 300 stores by 2012. Meanwhile, the Toano, Va.-based retailer is testing a new home-installation strategy that relies on a single national installation services provider.

“So far, the test has been very encouraging,” said Jeffrey Griffiths, Lumber Liquidators’ CEO, speaking at Piper Jaffray’s 28th Annual Consumer Conference held Tuesday in New York City. The move would break from the retailer’s practice of creating market-to-market relationships with local installers.

About half of the retailer’s customers do their own installation, he said.

Griffiths’ key message to investors during his presentation dealt with the company’s sales momentum. The company has recorded 25 consecutive quarters of comp-store sales growth and a sales growth from $100.9 million in 2003 to $405.3 million in 2007.

“We’ve been doing well,” he said, describing customer service and low-risk no-frills stores as competitive advantages.

Griffith pointed to opportunity for growth in the fragmented hardwood flooring market, where the national home centers combine to carry about 20 percent of the share, compared to about 7 percent for Lumber Liquidators.

The big boxes do a “great job” in stained oak, bamboo, laminates and other low-end products, Griffith said. “But we feel we can compete strongly against them on the high end product.” A sales staff focused exclusively on flooring provides a key advantage for the specialty retailer, he said, adding: “Buying flooring is not an easy thing to do.”

Lumber Liquidators, which went public in November 2007, has stores in 42 states.

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