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ISSAQUAH, Wash. - Discount retailer Costco Wholesale Corp. plans to launch a test store in Kirkland, Wash., that focuses solely on furniture and home furnishings, The Associated Press reports.
Costco, which already sells some furniture in its warehouse stores, said the store will be called Costco Home and could open as early as November. It will offer Costco members mattresses, dining-room tables, dishwashers and other furniture and appliances at a discount.
"We experiment with stuff all the time, and that is what this is," Jim Sinegal, Costco's president and chief executive, told The Seattle Times. "The question is whether home furnishings without the allure of all the other things at Costco can be as successful in a freestanding furniture place."
If it is, the company may roll out Costco Home stores in other locations, with Portland, Ore., and the San Francisco Bay Area at the top of the list.
Costco is planning to use its strategy of low prices on a limited selection of products that has helped the 19-year-old company expand into more than 390 stores around the world.
Others have tried and failed in this market. Sears, Roebuck and Co. launched a spinoff called HomeLife stores in the 1990s but that venture ended in bankruptcy. Price Club, a warehouse chain that eventually merged with Costco, launched a similar but no more successful venture more than a decade ago, noted one analyst.