December 11, 2023

Two Best Buy concepts, one focused on outdoor furnishings and the other on bargain electronics and appliances, are set to expand in Houston.

Yardbird, an online retailer of eco-friendly outdoor furniture acquired by Best Buy in November, will open its first Texas location in Rice Village in June. The 4,350-square-foot store at 2433 University Blvd. will be the 11th showroom for the direct to consumer brand, which sells patio sets, chairs and couches with Sunbrella fabric cushions. Some of its most popular pieces utilize resin wicker made with recycled plastic waste recovered from beaches that is woven onto aluminum frames.

Houston ranks as a top five market for online sales for St. Louis Park, Minn.-based Yardbird, so putting a brick and mortar store in a central location here made sense.

“We looked where the bulk of our customers were,” said Yardbird cofounder Jay Dillon.

Jay Dillon, along with his cofounder and father Bob Dillon, started the company in 2018 to offer affordable outdoor furniture, keeping prices down by selling directly to customers and producing the furniture in-house working with factories overseas. Dillon developed a system to collect and reuse what would otherwise have been ocean-bound plastic waste in several countries. In one popular chair, more than 20 pounds of the recycled plastic combines with the same amount of new plastic, Dillon said.

Yardbird says it offsets 100 percent of its carbon footprint, factoring in everything from product shipping to employee commuting, with donations to, a non-profit that helps organizations reduce and offset their climate impact.

Sales of outdoor furniture were already strong but really took off after the pandemic, Dillon said. Since 2020, the company has expanded to Denver, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, D.C. and Chicago.

Best Buy, a publicly traded company based in Richfield, Minn., is best known for electronics, but the merchandise mix is changing as the company expands its sales of outdoor living products such as grills, outdoor cooking appliances, lighting and furnishings.

Best Buy plans to roll out Yardbird products to 90 of its own stores this year including at Pacific Sales Kitchen & Home stores in California, according to Best Buy.

In addition to Houston, another five Yardbird showrooms are expected to open in the coming months.

Doubling down on outlet stores

As part of a strategy to double its count of outlet stores to 32 locations, Best Buy selected Houston as one of four cities to launch the expansion.

In addition to new stores in Chicago, Phoenix and Manassas, Va., Best Buy will relocate its Houston outlet to a 60,000-square-foot space at 17776 State Highway 249 in northwest Houston. Set to open in September, the new store will be triple the size the current location across the street.

Best Buy’s outlets have open-box, clearance items, and a full range of products at discounted prices. The store will carry laptops, tablets and mobile phones, in addition to the larger products traditionally stocked at outlets such as appliances and TVs.

Also new, Houston customers will be able to shop the outlet online and make purchases for pick up in store or curbside. The new outlet locations can also ship small products, like laptops and tablets, according to Best Buy.

Best Buy has 27 stores in the Houston area in addition to the outlet.

DSW tests new store format

Designer Brands Inc., parent of DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, unveiled its new “warehouse reimagined” store format at its Hedwig Village location in the Memorial area. The renovated store at 9419 Katy Freeway serves as a pilot to test omnichannel experiences for 700 stores.

The store arranges merchandise based on customers’ shopping habits, and incorporates an ordering desk and order pick-up areas designed to make the shopping experience more convenient.

The warehouse-inspired design, which features product displays with oversize graphics and a dedicated kid’s section, highlights the company’s owned brands, such as Hush Puppies, Vinca Camuto, Jessica Simpson and Lucky Brand. The company plans to grow its owned brands to 30 percent of sales by 2026.

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