Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Why Are There So Many Mattress Stores?

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.

Music by.Find us:Twitter/ Facebook.

Subscribe to our show onApple Podcasts,PocketCastsandNPR One.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stacey Vanek Smith is the co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money. She's also a correspondent for Planet Money, where she covers business and economics. In this role, Smith has followed economic stories down the muddy back roads of Oklahoma to buy 100 barrels of oil; she's traveled to Pune, India, to track down the man who pitched the country's dramatic currency devaluation to the prime minister; and she's spoken with a North Korean woman who made a small fortune smuggling artificial sweetener in from China.