Why Are There So Many Mattress Stores? : Planet Money There are so many mattress stores in America, and they always seem to be empty. So how can they afford the real estate? And how do they stay in business?
NPR logo Why Are There So Many Mattress Stores?

Why Are There So Many Mattress Stores?

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mattress firm
Scott Olson/Getty Images

If you've ever wondered how mattress stores stay in business, you're not alone. They seem to defy the laws of economics: They occupy large pieces of often very expensive real estate; they're usually empty; and because most people buy a mattress maybe once or twice a decade, they don't seem to do a lot of trade. So how do they they survive? The most puzzling example of this business is a company called Mattress Firm, which became the biggest mattress retailer in the country following an acquisition binge. So confounding is its apparent success that Mattress Firm spawned a conspiracy theory on Reddit. Was the company a money laundering outfit? A mob front? For a while there, speculation was rampant. Today on The Indicator, we team up with Dan Bobkoff of the podcast Household Name, to investigate the mystery of Mattress Firm.

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