I shopped at TJ Maxx's sister furniture store, and it convinced me never to buy home goods full-price again

Business Insider/Mary HanburyHomeGoods is one of TJX’s homeware stores.

  • People love shopping at TJ Maxx for the “treasure-hunt” experience it offers. Its sister store, HomeGoods, offers a similar kind of experience.
  • TJXCompanies’ homeware business accounts for 30% of its sales overall. Its homeware offering in the United States is spread across three stores: HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, and most recently, Homesense.
  • The retailer is doubling down on this category, opening more homeware stores across the US.
  • We visited one of its HomeGoods stores outside Philadelphia and were extremely impressed by the shopping experience, especially the selection, price, and quality of the products on offer.

TJ Maxx’s parent company is doubling down on its homeware business to boost growth.

Off-price retail company TJX Companies runs two independent homeware stores: HomeGoods and Homesense.

HomeGoods has 690 stores in the United States, while Homesense is a brand-new concept with only four locations. Homesense is native to Canada and only hit US soil with a location in Framingham, Massachusetts, in 2017.

The company is now looking to grow both stores alongside each other. Homesense could eventually reach 400 locations in total, CEO Ernie Herrman told investors in a recent earnings call.

HomeGoods, TJX’s other homeware store, has been around much longer, since 1992. It stocks top home brands at prices that are generally 20-60% below department-store prices.

During a recent visit to a TJ Maxx store in Pennsylvania, I stumbled across an attached HomeGoods store. This was my first experience shopping at HomeGoods, and while it should be noted that this store was pretty much brand-new – it opened in November – and therefore more likely to be a shining example of the chain, I left with a good impression.

The only confusing part is knowing when to go to HomeGoods and when to go to Homesense – and how HomeGoods will differentiate itself without cannibalising sales at its sister store.

Here’s what it was like to shop at HomeGoods:

This HomeGoods store was part of a larger TJ Maxx store on the outskirts of Philadelphia. The store was almost brand-new — it opened in November.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

The home sector is a big part of TJX’s business, accounting for around 30% of sales, according to the company’s CFO, Scott Goldenberg. Its homeware offering in the US is spread across three stores: HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, and most recently, HomeSense, a Canadian homeware store that was rolled out in the US in 2017.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

The biggest confusion here is knowing where to shop for what. While management claims that the overlap between these stores is minimal, the line between them seems to be blurred.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

“Just as our customers enjoy shopping both TJ Maxx and Marshalls, we are confident that loyal customers and new shoppers alike will be excited about shopping both Homesense and HomeGoods,” HomeGoods President John Ricciuti said in a statement to the press at a Homesense store opening in 2017.

As I crossed the threshold from TJ Maxx to HomeGoods, I was instantly impressed.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

This store had a wide selection of large pieces of furniture, which were not only cheap, but seemed to be good quality.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

The shopping experience is similar to TJ Maxx, but while it is technically a bargain hunt, it didn’t feel like one.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

Each section was curated and neatly put together, which made it very easy to shop.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

Increasingly, more retailers are doubling down on stylish and affordable homeware in an effort to appeal to millennials. Target, for example, has collaborated with celebrities like Chip and Joanna Gaines of “Fixer Upper” to design new homeware collections. However, the difference at HomeGoods is that you are getting good deals on well-known brands.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

I could see how it would be less appealing to shop at places like IKEA when you can potentially get better-quality products at the same price here …

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

… and you may feel like you’re getting something a little more unique, like these dishes made in Portugal.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

The limited amount of inventory spurs you to buy then and there, and given HomeGoods has no online platform, everything has to be done in store.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

The rest of the store was made up with kitchen utensils, glasses, and dining equipment.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

Our verdict: The store was easy to shop and stocked with a mix of stylish and affordable items. It still had the thrill of the bargain hunt without being chaotic like other off-price stores.

Overall, the experience was great, and I will definitely be coming back for more.

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