Wayfair's First Permanent Store Is Set to Open at Natick Mall

The Boston-based company also opened pop-up shops this month in four malls, but the Natick Mall location is Wayfair's first permanent store

Massive online retailer Wayfair is about to make its first foray into permanent physical stores, opening its first lasting brick-and-mortar location Wednesday at the Natick Mall in Massachusetts.

Wayfair customers can buy products from the showroom at the store or schedule delivery. They can also order custom furniture.

The Boston-based company also opened pop-up shops this month in malls in Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia, but the Natick Mall location is Wayfair's first permanent store, according to a news release.

"Consumers can visit the Wayfair store for inspiration, select from hundreds of items available off-the-shelf, and shop Wayfair's full catalog of 14 million products across every style and price point, all with the helpful support of trusted design consultants at every step," said Ed Macri, Wayfair's chief product and marketing officer, in a statement.

The location will feature a "Home Bar" for design advice and ideas as well as a "Room Planner" to help shoppers visualize how products will look in their homes.

"This store is really a physical manifestation of what you might find online," Wayfair spokeswoman Susan Frechette said at the store Tuesday. 

Wayfair isn't the only online retailer to begin opening stores as it grows. Mattress maker Casper is planning to roll out physical stores after becoming well known as digital-only company, and glasses maker Warby Parker now has about 100 locations, according to CNBC.

It's part of a strategy called "omni-channel retail" that lets customers go seamlessly from shopping online to shopping in-store, said Ryan Kearney of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

"You've seen malls kind of have more and more vacancies and, for the retail industry, which is highly competitive, you need to continue to be innovative and continue to evolve," Kearney said.

Wayfair reported $2.34 billion in quarterly sales earlier this month, though it also reported a larger-than-expected loss, causing its stock to drop, CNBC reported. Stocks have been down from their historic peak in March.

In June, hundreds of people participated in a protest at Copley Square, planned as an employee walkout from Wayfair headquarters in Boston, to protest the company's decision to furnish a detention camp for migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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