Overindebted Out-of-Cash Sleep Number Blames Consumers for Results of Years of Mismanagement. Shares Collapsed 92% from Peak Consensual Hallucination

This is the kind of chart my pantheon of Imploded Stocks is full of, driven by what I call “consensual hallucination” that then vanished.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Sleep Number Corp, which makes mattresses and sells them at its stores, and spends a gazillion on advertising to entice people to buy them, reported earnings yesterday evening, namely a big loss, falling sales, outlook cuts, earnings cuts, cost cuts, staff cuts, store cuts, and haircuts for shareholders. It first blamed the consumer that “abruptly midway through the quarter,” so on August 15, collapsed, even as retail sales overall boomed in August and September.

But that collapsed consumer was just fake fodder designed to be stuck into headlines in order to manipulate the headlines away from the company-specific debacle that Sleep Number has created for itself.

Reality came out further down, namely in the conference call, when the executives, upon getting nudged ever so politely but repeatedly, pointed at their own misguided strategies, such as suddenly trying to sell its most expensive setup to people when they walked into the store. And when people, who liked the setup, saw the price tag, they revolted. Consumers hate, hate, hate inflation, and they hate being hit over the head by mega-prices, and they’re now steering clear of some of the companies that try to pull that off, and that’s what Sleep Number suddenly discovered.

Stuff happens. Executives trip over their own underwear, and their decisions fall flat and things go downhill. And that’s OK. Sleep Number was a penny stock before, back during the Financial Crisis.

But the reason we’re looking at this company is because the stock [SNBR] is special. Actually it’s not special. It’s emblematic.

Consensual hallucination. Today, Sleep Number shares kathoomphed 30% at the moment, to $11.31. But that big percentage-plunge is so tiny in the overall implosion that it can barely be seen in the chart. Shares peaked on March 15, 2021 at $146.97 at the close, having spiked by 850% in 12 months, which was common back then. And since then, shares have collapsed by 92%, giving up not only the entire 850% spike from the March 2020 low, but more, and are now back at the lowest price since 2011.

This is the kind of chart that my pantheon of Imploded Stocks is full of, documenting a period that will go down in history as the craziest era in the stock market ever that had been driven by what I call “consensual hallucination”:

The Sleep Number stock is an emblem of what went wrong when the Fed and other central banks started printing many trillions over the span of a couple of years, to douse the land in newly created liquidity that needed to find a place to go, and people were working from home and had fun with this stuff, and they traded as if it were a video game, and they ganged up on the social media to hype this stuff, and the result was pure insanity showing up across the stock market.

Then the fun ended and this stuff collapsed, one stock after the other, starting in that infamous February 2021, and stock after stock became part of my pantheon of Imploded Stocks.

So this company has almost no cash, $906,000 at the end of the quarter, which is nothing for a company that size.

And it’s awash in debt. Its entire working capital is borrowed on a line of credit, on which it owed $488 million at the end of Q3.

And that’s why its interest expense doubled, because lines of credit have variable rates, and those rates jumped, and in addition, the amount borrowed on this line of credit also rose by $28 million year-over-year.

In addition:

  • It owes $46 million to its customers who’d prepaid for purchases.
  • It has operating lease obligations of $440 million.
  • It has all kinds of other liabilities.

So it has a negative net worth (shareholder equity) of minus $420 million.

In light of this cliffhanger balance sheet, the earnings report was unwelcome: Revenues dropped 13% to $473 million in Q3, gross profit dropped 11%, total operating expenses dropped 9%, and operating income dropped by half to $5.4 million.

Then came $11 million in interest expenses, which had nearly doubled year-over-year because that’s how higher interest rates and more debt affect earnings.

And so it generated a loss before taxes of $5.6 million, got a tax benefit of $3.3 million, for a net loss of $2.3 million.

Its outlook for the rest of the year darkened further, and it now sees “a loss of up to $0.70 per share, which includes an estimated $10 million or $0.35 per share of restructuring charges to be recorded in the fourth quarter.”

It said it would restructure its operations to cut its expenses by $50 million, on top of the $80 million in expense cuts it promised earlier for 2023. This includes closing “40 to 50 stores by the end of 2024,” slowing new store openings, slowing remodels of old stores, and reducing capital expenditures overall.

Sleep Number is in an awfully mismanaged industry full of fake hype and hoopla. Mattress Firm filed for bankruptcy in 2018 after a slew of scandals and issues; and after its owner Steinhoff International had collapsed in 2017 amid “accounting irregularities,” that then were revealed to be $7.4 billion in fraud.  Foam-mattress and bedding retailer Casper, once a unicorn with mega losses whose shares imploded right after the IPO in February 2020, was acquired by a private equity firm in November 2021 for a fistful of dollars out of my pantheon of Imploded Stocks. In January 2023, mattress maker Serta Simmons Bedding filed for bankruptcy.

Sleep Number has good company.  But my suggestion for its executives is to not invent the collapse of the consumer on August 15, but fess up to years of mismanagement and mistakes, resign, and let someone else try their hands at salvaging this business.

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  125 comments for “Overindebted Out-of-Cash Sleep Number Blames Consumers for Results of Years of Mismanagement. Shares Collapsed 92% from Peak Consensual Hallucination

  1. ChS says:

    I dunno…on top of all that it’s not a very good product.

    • Harvey Mushman says:

      My sister in law and brother in law have an adjustable bed and they love it. I don’t know the brand though.

      • joedidee says:

        We went to foam mattresses 10 years ago
        $500 ea (we have king but 1 mattress is impossible to move)
        before we had $3,500 mattress we didn’t like
        looking now – reviews say black friday sales should abound

  2. Glen says:

    Feels like Sleep Number should have never seen the light of day. Seems like so many marginal and bad ideas make it that shouldn’t, and then take forever to implode and longer for bankruptcy. Not suggesting a good bed and more importantly a good pillow and occasional CBD aren’t essential but it is still just a bed.

    • blahblahbloo says:

      But, but, but…. you can DIAL A NUMBER! To change the bed! That makes it better, and all the high end hotels have these beds, right?

      • Wolf Richter says:

        I sleep super-well on a futon. Wait till people discover the comforts of a basic futon. Put it on a nice platform frame, and see what happens to the retailers of $3,000-matresses.

        • Gattopardo says:

          We’ve had a hell of a time finding mattresses that work for us. $2500 and backache. $900 and felt great…for a week and then sagged, backache. Most US mattresses are stuffed full of funky “proprietary” foams, especially memory foam. They work for some, not so much for others. Same with latex (but spendier). The mattresses with “normal” foam from back in the day are rare.

          The funny part is I go to Europe and am just fine on totally spartan firm mattresses there. I’ve tried to find similar in the US and get nowhere.

          Point being, yes, the sham that is high priced mattresses is a, well, sham.

        • Gunther says:

          Many years ago I found out that the boxspring under the matress was the reason for my backpain. Evey foot a wooden 1×3 across the bed and in between cardboard. After a while the cardboard gave in and the matress support had gaps almost a foot wide.
          No wonder the back did hurt.
          My solution was a sheet of plywood on top of the boxspring.

          For the next bed I made a Frame out of 2×6 studs with an extra beam in the middle and put 3/4 plywood on top.
          With a headboard from the store the wife is happy.

          Simple and solid.
          The foam matress on top is getting old and needs to be replaced, the Frame still holds.

        • CCCB says:

          When I bought my TX ranch house it was empty so I bought a <$100 Coleman air bed. Best thing I ever slept on once I put a buffalo hide under the sheets for the winter.

          Everyone laughed at me until they laid or slept on it. I still have it five years later and wouldnt trade it for a $20,000 bed!

        • viscacha says:

          It’s all “marketing” – telling people what they “need.” When I see people with a mattress on top of their car, I want to yell “Try a futon! They roll up!” Portability is really useful. Google: mattresses falling off cars. And then: Oviedo man becomes airborne while on unsecured mattress. It did not end well.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          Gatto – sounds like more research on which varities of ‘memory’ foam are likely to develop amnesia…(…also, into average ‘Murican age group weights over the last century…).

          may we all find a better day.

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          (@#$! auto-whatever) please insert: ‘is needed’ after ‘amnesia’. Apologies.

          may we all find that better day.

        • NBay says:

          You mean like RAM vs hard-drive?

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          NBay – I don’t remember…(best).

          may we all find a better day.

        • Mitry says:

          Is it a Japanese futon with alternating layers of cotton and wool?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          I haven’t opened it up yet. I assumed it was just cotton. Maybe I should do some exploratory surgery?

      • kramartini says:

        It goes to 11…

        • NBay says:

          “Sleep number has a good company…….let someone else try their hand at salvaging this business”

          ONLY explanation for that I can see is Wolf knows there are a lot of extremely wealth people who want their asses extremely well kissed and will buy stupid junk to get it. (and maybe then enjoy talking “advanced bed/sleep technology” with other rich people.

          That plus comments on the link to Steinhoff fraud convinced me “consensual hallucination” is “consensual insanity” in the top 5-10% net wealth bunch. DAMN!!!!

          This is going to be quite a show and an excellent time to end a failed species.

          Oh yeah, I have a 4″ 15 year old futon on the floor that folds into 3….may be sagging a bit (by sight) but I sleep fine.
          It is my belief that this culture is bad for sleep….VERY BAD. Go with the Ambien….will REALLY accelerate things! Had a GF that took it….wild! Cofefe!

        • Greg P says:

          LOL you’re not half wrong :) We owned a Sleep Number Bed after reading rave reviews and buying it on a super sale… and it was just strictly “ok”. Kept it about 10 years(?) and then went back to traditional.

        • NBay says:

          Warhol didn’t count on how GOOD and POWERFUL advertisers would get….that’s where one goes if they don’t want to just study Psychology, they want to INVENT IT and also LIVE IT!

          Now most everyone will beg, borrow, and steal to get as much more than that 15 minutes as possible.

        • NBay says:

          HAR-HAR !!!….”Rave Reviews”….”Super Sale”……I rest my case.

        • NBay says:

          HEY! Wolf dropped the link to how most this miracle gadget “works”. Oh well, I guess that IS for a good salesman on good commission to explain.
          Nobody really cares if it gets “rave reviews”….from ones neighbors especially!

          What’s your sleep number? LMFAO, thinking of all the commercials.

        • NBay says:

          Nothing beat a water bed in early 20’s. Could get such a good toehold you could break her neck. Just what was needed when still struggling with most of your self image.

        • Cas127 says:


          Who knew the 1920’s were such a racy time.

        • vecchio gatto veloce says:


          Decades ago when I was in my early twenties, I had a free-flow, or full wave waterbed. The thing is, the wave resonance is determined by how much water is inside. More water equals higher frequency.

          The key was to have the music on the turntable match the frequency of the bed and you and your girlfriend just get into the same rhythm.

          I think that’s what Sting and the Police called ‘Synchronicity.’

          “With one breath, with one flow
          You will know synchronicity
          A sleep trance, a dream dance
          A shared romance, synchronicity;”

          On topic, Sleep Number is based in Minneapolis. My local newspaper has this to report:

          “Sleep Number lays off 500 as part of $50M restructuring, reaches agreement with activist shareholder. The stock closed down 29% after the announcements, including that Sleep Number added two new board members as part of the cooperation agreement with Stadium Capital.”

          “Cooperation agreement?” WTF? Five hundred employees get the pink slip, eh?

          The newspaper adds, “Stadium Capital criticized Sleep Number for poor execution and lax corporate governance.”

        • Harvey Mushman says:

          “It goes to 11…”

          I just had a flashback to the movie “Spinal Tap”, Lol!!!

        • Rosarito Dave says:

          Kudos for the “Spinal Tap” reference! :-)

        • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

          NBay – re: your Warhol observation – my ex, and my current spouse, both being in marketing years ago, regularly subscribed to ‘Advertising Age’. Frequently felt my blood run a trifle cold on the occasions I would browse it, to thank my lucky stars for cutting my teeth on the forbidden fruit of the original ‘Mad’ magazine…

        • NBay says:

          Just figured out who you are. Have you been lurking under yet another screen name?

          I was talking about against the headboard (this was the 5’10 1/2′ one I lost when I dropped out of Pharmacy School).
          Your system probably wouldn’t have worked, we just had to stop and move back down….gave me a chance to cool down, so it worked real well.
          Dustoff….she had Ethan Allen and Yamaha Grand Piano (competitive pianist from a young age) Catalogs laying around…should known. Still a great 6 years after the pain wore off.

      • Widowson says:

        My wife & I have slept on the entry-level Sleep Number bed for the last decade and LOVE IT. No complaints here AND the adjustability feature is the primary reason we purchased it: we both favor different mattress firmness and I don’t know how a standard mattress would accommodate this surely common consideration. We couldn’t afford their top-of-line models, but would hate to not be able to purchase another (entry-level) model in the future when this one wears out…even though it has shown no such shortcomings yet.

        • Bobby says:

          Have to agree. Wife and I had bought the most basic C2 mattress a few years back with just the adjustable head. If we could have afforded the C4 or even the P series I would have done that and opted for the full adjustment. However, after years on the C2 we still love it and having the adjustable sides for each of us has been great. Love when I first lay in bed and the bed deflates ever so slightly making it feel like it just hugs around me. I don’t know what all the negativity around these beds are, beside the price, but ours have been great.

        • Paul says:

          Another solution to that problem is to have two twin beds side by side. Then each person can have their preferred mattress/bedding. Quite common in Europe.

  3. Greg Nikolic says:

    Nikolic’s 5th Rule:

    When you have money to burn, you burn money.

    Like Wolf says, fools playing with “monopoly money” gifted to them by forces they don’t understand are driving up the valuations of these stocks. Also playing a part is that it is easier to buy and sell stocks now than during any time in history. It becomes like a video game, or an especially enticing form of gambling. Some guys must be willing to lose a few bucks just to enter the thrill of the game.

    • Einhal says:

      I had a friend who used to say something similar.

      “When people have more disposable income, they dispose of it.”

  4. blahblahbloo says:

    Wow, with these rates and that low of a down payment, Sleep Number is going to have trouble buying a nice house in California.

  5. William Leake says:

    “So this company has almost no cash, $906,000 at the end of the quarter, which is nothing for a company that size.”-Wolf

    Lol, I have more than that in cash.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      This is actually the edited line. The first readers saw: “Some readers here have more than that in T-bills and CDs.”

      But I had second thoughts about it 10 minutes after publication and replaced it.

      • Don douglas says:

        Actually I read the first part no they do not show the most expensive set up!
        The problem is it is a mattress company that no body above a store manager has ever sold a bed put store to close to each other it a management problem period

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Don douglas

          “Actually I read the first part no they do not show the most expensive set up!”

          You’re clueless.

          CEO Shelly Ibach on the conference call — and this came up several times — admitted to having made this mistake:

          “And they had a perceived affordability barrier for our smart bed. That is the number one factor across the board. Our execution was too focused on selling overall smart bed system, meaning both the smart bed and the smart adjustable base driving a very high ARU. So for example, our selling process, presented the entire solution upfront, and customers fell in love with it. But they weren’t willing to spend that much at this time when they’re scrutinizing their spending.”

          Read the transcript of the conference call:

      • Halibut says:

        I “know a guy” that has more than that in TBills alone.

        • Greg P says:

          I know a guy who also has more than that in TBills alone. Just rolling over the cash while he builds a new house…

      • sufferinsucatash says:

        With RMDs I’m sure it happens.

        The Roth people can hold and hold and hold

        It’s sort of silly a 401k has to RMD

      • NBay says:

        Still going to keep educating people on the evils of Class Warfare.

        I was not the one to invent lies: they were created in a society divided by class and each of us inherited lies when we were born. It is not by refusing to lie that we will abolish lies: it is by eradicating class by any means necessary.

        — Jean-Paul Sartre, Dirty Hands: act 5, scene 3. (1963 translation)[3]

        • NBay says:

          That is also where,

          “By any means necessary”

          came from……..at least I think most scholars agree, or was it’s major way into mainstream language.

          Can get people into plenty verbal trouble lately, maybe always could?

          I’ve experienced it, and I’m not the only one, it’s in a long line, right up to this very minute. It’s the history of so called “civilization”…..many wrong turns to get here.

        • NBay says:

          That’s experienced “the very extreme means” (had NO choice there), not the verbal trouble. I have nasty relatives I sometimes might need little favors from…..fairly good at keeping my mouth shut.

      • Tom says:

        When I moved to Folsom CA around 1999 from Chicago, it was strange to see that the town’s reserve fund at about $1 million was smaller than the reserve fund in the 42 story building for my condo in Chicago.

    • Phoenix_Ikki says:

      Yeah when I read that I was like wait a min I have more than that liquid…my second thought is, how come I didn’t some free easy money like they did…

      • NBay says:

        Sleeping during Econ 101?

      • sufferinsucatash says:

        There is a story on cnbc about a popular brothel in VA and Boston being shut down. The guy running it had 5-6 luxury apartments 2 top people and they all had over 600-700k in their bank accounts.

        Also he did PPP loans for a free 600k. I mean wow!

        Apparently someone the feds had wrapped up before this started up spilled the beans.

        Some real powerful guys swept up in this one. Get out ya popcorn

      • fullbellyemptymind says:

        Literally all you needed was an active EIN and a payroll paper trail. My businesses are real, and produce revenue/taxes/etc. but I guarantee there were lots of PO box business that got paid in full.

        At no point in the “underwriting” was I asked:

        If/how the shutdown had effected my businesses
        Whether I was planning to lay anyone off
        What the money would be used for

        Lesson learned – keep a couple of llcs running at all time gentlemen

    • andy says:

      Ok Scrooge McDuck, do you have enough to swim in it?

  6. BobE says:

    This reminded me of a story.

    Our entire team had to travel a few years ago for a customer meeting.

    1) One team member complained that they never slept well on hotel mattresses.
    2) I sleep like a rock anywhere.
    3) The final team member insisted on only staying at a hotel that had Sleep Number mattress because he just dialed in the same number that he had at home. Sounded good to me.

    The morals of the story are:

    1) I should be VP of marketing with a Golden Parachute since I seem to know about selling their product than they do. :-)
    2) Travel is hard and being a manager is harder.

    • vecchio gatto veloce says:


      The top bicycle racing teams that compete in races like the Tour de France, now have each rider sleep on their own beds every night while the stage race (three weeks, typically) goes on.

      The entourage behind the top team’s support nowadays is pretty amazing. But it makes sense considering the monies involved and trying to gain every little advantage for the best performance that’s required to win. Chefs, custom food preparation and minute detail of calories, exactly what’s been eaten and fluids taken in by each rider are now standard procedure.

      I don’t think the teams use Sleep Number beds . . .

      • sufferinsucatash says:

        Yeah and lance armstrong rode for usps while doing a very intricate doping scheme.

        No thanks to that corrupt race and sport.

        But then again most sports are.

        • vecchio gatto veloce says:

          I raced against riders on EPO & HGH back in the day. There was a long time when it was used and not detectable by drug testing.

          The downside? EPO, when used without proper monitoring for dehydration, blood clots and brain aneurysms that could occur during sleep, killed quite a few riders when it first appeared.

          No, I didn’t cheat. No. I didn’t get to the Olympics. Yes, I’m still alive and riding, a third of a century later. C’est la vie. La vie est belle.

  7. Big store mattress selling is such a scam. Always promises of rebates for a lower price elsewhere for the same model, but the models to different retailers are all labeled differently so there’s never a qualified comparison. We’ll match any price “Or your mattress is freeee!” Sit N Sleep…


    • ApartmentInvestor says:

      I’ve been buying mattress at Costco for years and could not be happier with them. After we bought the cabin I emailed a photo to a friend of four twin mattress on top of our SUV in the Costco parking lot. The mattress on the bunk beds were so flat and yellow I was guessing they were from late 1950’s when the cabin was built. My friend wrote back, that I should have saved the money and kept the old mattresses since nobody sleeping on a bunk bed ever writes an AirBnB review.

  8. Gary says:

    Wouldn’t we be better with scientific and technical government organization for our industries than this haphazard pencil pushing accountant and huckster financial industry? It’s time to leave the whole 1913 horse and buggy era Federal Reserve and minions in the stone age and finally advance our civilization. The capitalist can never be anything but a parasite on mankind.

    • ChS says:

      Yeah! If only there was a government system with a “scientific and technical government organization” that controlled the means of production and that allocated the products of the economy to the people based on equity, inclusion, and need! And there would be no private ownership of property or social classes! I don’t think it’s ever been tried before, but I’m certain it would be great!


    • Anon1970 says:

      Did you ever do any shopping in a Russian store before the old Soviet Union collapsed?

      • Some Midwest Guy says:

        But it will be better this time!


      • William Leake says:

        I was traveling in Yugoslavia when Tito was still running the show. I went into a moderately sized market. Half the shelves were empty. I got to Italy a few days later and went into a similar size market and the shelves were overflowing with products.

      • Wisoot says:

        The store at pavement level or the store in the wardrobe of Room 315 of high rise hotel with roof top vodka bar? Former sparse, latter pandoras box.

    • LaughingLion says:

      Gary: I agree with you. Assuming you aren’t being ironic.

    • andy says:

      Gary, do you mostly wear bland, drab, olive-colored clothing? Why not at least try to look like a successful communist?

    • sufferinsucatash says:

      Hey crypto almost got us there…




  9. Herpderp says:

    I buy my mattresses from Amazon, vacuum compressed into rolls and crammed in a box. Cheap and comfortable. I would never go back to a traditional mattress. How Casper is burning so much cash doing this very thing is beyond me, but I am not shocked brick and mortar mattress brands are going the way of the dodo.

    • MM says:

      How long do those mattresses last?

      • Herpderp says:

        Ive had mine for 5 and a half years, I dont notice any degradation.
        The internet says this:
        “A good general guideline is to expect a mattress to last 7-10 years. Casper claims that their foam mattresses can last up to 12 years”
        Is that true? I will have to get back to you in 6 years.

        • DawnsEarlyLight says:

          We must need a new one. Everytime I sit up, the wife falls out of bed.

      • Some Midwest Guy says:

        My wife and I were skeptical but we bought a Kirkland (Costco brand) mattress that was in a box because we could return it even after opening, and it has been a great mattress! Also has a 20 year warranty so better believe once that thing dies I’ll be dragging it in for the few bucks I can get back.

      • Jenkins says:

        What and how much do they off-gas?

    • Fed Up says:

      I love memory foam. I spend less than $500 for a queen and get a great mattress.

      • LaughingLion says:

        Less than $500 for a queen, you say?

      • DawnsEarlyLight says:

        We bought a ‘Sharper Image’ brand, with ‘magical cooling beads’ Feels awesome, but the wife seems to be having a problem with it.

      • Ccat says:

        yep. same here. Foam Factory online. most comfortable, longest lasting bed ever! Bought them for the entire house.

    • William Leake says:

      The three things I hate most are:
      1. Looking for an apartment to rent and dealing with landlords.
      2. Buying a new car.
      3. Buying a mattress.
      What do they all have in common?
      I have to deal with crooks. They know it, I know it, they know I know it.

      • Zest says:

        All your landlords have been crooks? Sounds like bad luck, or maybe the problem is you?

        Landlords provide a necessary service for the economy and for renters. They agree on a price to pay for housing, you pay it, they provide the housing. What’s to be crooked about it?

        I’ve never had a bad landlord myself. And I and other small landlords I know in my personal life are all fair and generous with our renters. We want to give good housing to people who need it, and expect our renters to be fair and responsible in return. It’s a good arrangement the vast majority of the time.

        Or are you just one of those new radicals that has fun decrying a whole class of service-providers for the fun of it?

  10. Ed C says:

    But, but … Mattress Mack is a swashbuckling gambler and he’s made out well. If you bought a mattress from him and the team he gambled huge on won, you got that mattress free. If his team lost, well he sold a lot of mattresses. Only in America? 😎

  11. Phoenix_Ikki says:

    $4000-5000+ for an air mattress…hmm where do I sign up…I can’t imagine why not everyone buying their beds like hotcake…guess even drunken sailors are not that drunk..

    • Another Craig says:

      I agree totally. $5,000 for an air mattress isn’t something I’d consider doing. I wonder how those salespeople sleep at night.


  12. AMB says:

    I don’t get the appeal. My coworker had to meet a tech to service the leaking air hoses in his Sleep Number twice during the past few months. I prefer my boring, reliable bed that functions as intended 100% of the time. I don’t have a snazzy app that tells me how well/poor I slept but usually the absence or presence of bags under my eyes is a reliable indicator.

    • sufferinsucatash says:

      Springs. It’s 10th century tech but by golly it works!


      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        …again, the timeless engineering joke:

        “…if something works REALLY well, it doesn’t have enough ‘features’, yet…”.

        may we all have a better day.

  13. Anon1970 says:

    I bought a new mattress and box spring from Mancini’s Sleep World almost 3 years ago and I am quite happy with the purchase. The entire price including hidden sales tax was $920. The only mistake I made was not getting a new bed frame at the same time. The old frame simply could not cope with with higher weight of the new set. So I replaced the frame as well. I fully expect the new equipment to outlast me.

  14. Nick Kelly says:

    Reminds me of ‘Mattress Firm’ the South African? owned outfit that was said to have a weird number of outlets, too many for the market, and an inflated value. Can’t remember more or if I read about it on WS.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      In the second-to-last paragraph are the links to the stories I wrote about them at the time. Here is that paragraph again. Click on the links to see the stories. They’re wild!

      Sleep Number is in an awfully mismanaged industry full of fake hype and hoopla. Mattress Firm filed for bankruptcy in 2018 after a slew of scandals and issues; and after its owner Steinhoff International had collapsed in 2017 amid “accounting irregularities,” that then were revealed to be $7.4 billion in fraud.  Foam-mattress and bedding retailer Casper, once a unicorn with mega losses whose shares imploded right after the IPO in February 2020, was acquired by a private equity firm in November 2021 for a fistful of dollars out of my pantheon of Imploded Stocks. In January 2023, mattress maker Serta Simmons Bedding filed for bankruptcy.

      • Nick Kelly says:


      • Nick Kelly says:

        The one by landlord McNellis shows dealing with them close up. He says after leasing way more stores than they needed, then closing a bunch, the landlords had to compete to see which they might keep for a while. I wonder if We Work will have success at this tactic, with commercial RE already in a tough space.

  15. Petunia says:

    We went to a mattress store 2 years ago and I walked out disgusted with the up selling scams. Will never enter one again.

    We bought our new mattress from a furniture chain we have done business with for years. Just picked out the one we wanted, paid, and got it a few days later. No up selling, just a good selection, price was ok.

  16. NYguy says:

    Another unicorn that went to the moon. Plenty more to go though, as well as car and especially home prices. Seeing a lot of realtorss crowing about year over year gains in late summer but it’s based on a tiny number of transactions, so most RE agents aren’t making any $$. Wait until after winter, they’ll all look like they’re on ozempic because they haven’t had any Sales and haven’t been able to eat, lol!

  17. sufferinsucatash says:

    See I was right when I said sales were down!

    Haha, a broken clock is right 2 times a day.

  18. Brant Lee says:

    I don’t put my money into a new mattress, my money is cozy under the old mattress. Besides, with my back, I have to sleep in my lazyboy.

    Anyone remember a water bed? That was the life, cheap and it was best on the bottom.

    • BobE says:

      Both water beds and Magic Fingers beds joined Wolf’s infamous list before there was a list.

      So sad.

      • HowNow says:

        I remember “Magic Fingers”. 25 cents in a cheap motel. But it wouldn’t stop vibrating…

    • BobE says:

      I was around when water beds were popular. I never owned one because every apartment I rented didn’t allow them.

      They occasionally sprang leaks and 250 gallons of water on an upper floor apartment was an insurance nightmare.

      • ApartmentInvestor says:

        @BobE my apartment leases still prohibit all “Water filler Furniture”. In the 70’s there was a water bed store in Colma (just south of SF) called The Bedroom with the advertising slogan “Take a Peek Into The Bedroom”…

    • Legal Economist says:

      I actually had water beds from the time I was 18 up until I bought our current mattress about 5 years ago (so, over 40 years). First one was full motion, as that was all they made back then, after that I got the reduced motion ones. I was able to find them on-line and have them delivered (the last local shop closed about 20 years ago). Still loved them, and slept well (especially liked being able to turn up the thermostat in the winter), but getting out of them was becoming increasingly more difficult for both my wife and myself, so we switched to a coil/foam mattress.

  19. Halibut says:

    A few years back, my wife says we have company coming and we need to replace the mattress in the guest room.

    I didn’t want to drive 45 minutes to our favorite family owned furniture store and try them out. So, I just called them on the phone.

    “I need a good queen mattress set. I don’t want your best, just a good one…”

    “You want our Campbell set. It’s very, very comfortable, $600 for the set, and you’ll love it.”

    Delivered and setup for free the next day and it was everything they said.

    I wouldn’t buy a Sleep Number bed if they threw in a Peloton.

  20. Bobber says:

    I bought some Sleep Number (formerly Select Comfort) for $.25 during the Great Recession. Sold it quickly at $.50 for a 100% gain. Should have held to $140.

  21. bajarefugee says:

    America has a luxury problem. Financially. When a product is promoted, and priced, as a luxury item Americans will swamp it. Even take on debt to acquire it. Bragging rights?
    That works very well for designer goods. Purses are the Tulip Mania that just won’t go away.
    But this reality has slopped over into everyday goods. Like pillows. Or mattresses. Or ear buds. Or….
    With the bottom feeder level of commodities, providing no public exposure for the vanity buyer, this dog food eventually meets its’ expiration date.

  22. Lucca says:

    Sleep Number is an awful mattress. I slept on one in a hotel a few years ago and it was like sleeping on an air mattress.

  23. Tai Pan fan says:

    Anyone else fascinated by the ongoing problems at DISH? They are a real business trying to stand up a wireless network from scratch. Shivers inducing chart.

  24. C says:

    The difference between a $5000 and $500 mattress you spend 8 hours a night on for 10 years is meaningless financially. People literally spend $1500 a month leasing a car they spend 25 minutes a day commuting in for 3 years. Buy the mattress you like, save money on the car.

    • blahblahbloo says:

      >Buy the mattress you like

      Which is almost certainly not made by Sleep Number.

  25. Andrew Giant says:

    Shareholders haven’t been sleeping well even if they use the product.

  26. Mark says:

    I visited their website 2 weeks ago when I was looking for a new mattress. I found almost no information about their product, but lots of information on loans available to buy them. I think their model was to sell financing.

  27. TK says:

    The Purple Mattress company is similar. Their stock is now 83 cents from a high of $41. They have nice marketing but still sell overpriced mattresses. The whole industry is based on marketing with the goal of overcharging. It’s tough to find a perfect mattress, pillow or even slippers, which is why we all keep looking and hoping. And people love to spend and get a high from acquiring what they think will solve all problems. Free money shows us our behavioral vulnerability. But few care to look. I used to fall for hype. Thankfully with age comes wisdom.

    • HowNow says:

      “Imploded stocks” were real successes, for the founders. People seem to overlook the fact that a lot of the modern IPOs are simply marketing ideas that the early investors felt they could sell shares of. They were successful initially but disastrous for the bag holders during and after the IPO.

    • Lauren says:

      I paid $1200 for a queen Purple in 2019 and I’m really happy with it. Only downside is they’re really heavy. Seems like a tough business to be in as there’s a ton of competition.

  28. Wisoot says:

    Re Consensual hallucination and Fake hype and hoopla. It is a game – of learning – to assess what blend of colour and sound will best invoke concept and image to stimulate an induced buy reaction. If AI is out of the box already, are we watching an infant learn how to tame a national human animal with ultimate goal to tame a global human animal? That sure is ugly if so. Amazon induced investors into a 20 year loss making to tame capture whole market for a long game. Google search engines spew Amazon after Amazon links – also captured tamed. Porters 5 forces pah! Question is are you looking through a narrow lens and are you tamed?

    • HowNow says:

      Humans as “tamed” animals. Great anthropological finding. It fits. What was anyone expecting – enlightenment?

      • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

        Wisoot/How – Eloi and Morlocks. (The Morlocks never considering that their shiny new toy will subsequently look at them with no more nuance than it did the Eloi…).

        may we all find a better day.

  29. James Richard says:

    Any raised platform with a pick-your-density 3 inch latex topper will match any good mattress. For bells and whistles a hospital bed would do nicely.

  30. John H. says:

    Sleep Number travails makes me want to re-watch several classic high pressure sales flicks:

    – Glen Gary, Glen Ross (real estate)
    – Suckers (used cars)
    – Tin Men (residential siding)

    Coffee IS for closers!

    • Wolf Richter says:

      “Glen Gary, Glen Ross” is an absolute all-time favorite of mine.

      For a funny read on the high-pressure atmosphere at a high-volume Ford dealership, check out my ebook, which is so cheap it’s nearly free, and if you have Amazon Prime, it is free.

      To read the first few chapters for free, click on this link (title of the book) “TESTOSTERONE PIT”, which takes you to my Amazon page, then below the book’s cover, look for the “Read sample” button, and click on it which will open the book, and you can start reading.

  31. Nemo300BLK says:

    I highly recommend The Original Mattress Factory if you live east of the Mississippi and have a store nearby. My closest store is now 1.5 hours away, and I happily take my trailer when I need a mattress.

  32. Stylites2 says:

    Is this Company the ill-begotten son of the “Burning Bed” deal in the late 1980s that tanked the High Yield market.?

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