As Mattress Firm considers bankruptcy, Casper will build 200 physical stores

As traditional mattress retailers struggle to remain afloat, online-delivery pioneer Casper is opening up 200 physical stores to stay on top of the sleep.

Casper, the startup that pioneered online mattress delivery, announced plans to open 200 retail stores over the next 3 years, according to the Wall Street Journal.

As Mattress Firm considers bankruptcy, Casper will build 200 physical stores

Casper’s announcement comes just days after reports that the country’s largest mattress-maker, Mattress Firm, hired bankruptcy consultants to explore taking a looong nap. 

And, as WSJ points out, Casper joins successful direct-to-consumer e-tailers like Warby Parker that have crossed the digital divide to build their brand with physical stores.

As Mattress Firm fades to memory foam, Casper gets real

Mattress Firm built a sleep empire of 3.6k stores, but volatile consumer demand made it hard for the ’Firm to pay its 3k+ expensive store leases.

Meanwhile, on the cool side of the mattress, Casper (founded in 2014) established a successful online business selling consumers the dream of not wasting time in a mattress store. 

From ‘click-and-order’ to brick-and-mortar

After early e-commerce success, Casper started investing its $239.7m of funding on building its brand, through partnerships with physical retailers Target and Nordstrom. 

Then, last February, Casper opened a ‘Sleep Shop’ in Manhattan’s trendy SoHo shopping district. The shop was so successful that the NYC location — and Casper’s 17 other ‘pop-up’ shops — will now graduate to full-time stores. 

Like other digital-turned-physical stores such as Warby Parker, Allbirds, and Everlane, Casper will use its stores primarily to advertise its brand, not sell its actual products.

Other mattress-meddlers want to catch Casper sleeping

So far in 2018, Casper has increased revenue 50% from last year. 

But the success of Casper’s online mattress delivery model inspired plenty of online mattress delivery competition: startups Tuft-and-Needle, Leesa, Purple, Tulo, and Saatva have all thrown their foam into the ring.

Casper hopes that its physical locations will give it an edge over the ever-increasing number of online competitors — and by creating a small corps of trendy showrooms instead of a massive network of large (and expensive) outlets, Casper will try to keep costs down in the process.

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