CompUSA

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Compusa
Former type Subsidiary (of Systemax Inc., a public company)
Industry Retail
Founded Addison, Texas (1984 (1984))
Defunct 2012
Headquarters Miami, Florida
Number of locations 35[1]
Products Electronics
Parent Systemax
Website www.tigerdirect.com

Compusa was a retailer and reseller of consumer electronics, technology products and computer services. Its headquarters were in Miami, Florida.[2]

Until its reorganization, CompUSA, Inc. was a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Commercial Corp S.A.B. de C.V.[3] and indirectly controlled by a common shareholder, Carlos Slim.

On December 7, 2007, an affiliate of the restructuring and disposition firm Gordon Brothers Group, Specialty Equity, bought the company.[4] Systemax purchased the CompUSA brand, 16 retail locations and other company assets in January, 2008.[5]

Systemax operated CompUSA retail stores in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Delaware, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico, as well as CompUSA.com, a retail website and a dedicated catalog site for businesses.[6][7]

On November 2, 2012, it was announced that Systemax would drop both the CompUSA and Circuit City storefront brands, consolidating their businesses under the TigerDirect brand and website.[8]

In November 2013 the CompUSA intellectual properties were sold to JASALI 645 Realty LLC.

History[edit]

A typical CompUSA store, circa 2005

Founded in 1984 as Soft Warehouse in Addison, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas, Texas, by Errol Jacobson and Michael Henochowicz,[9] the company began national expansion in 1985 with its first megastore opening in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jacobson and Henochowicz led a team of young managers including Elizabeth Greenwood and Pat Wyckoff who were skilled in retail, distribution, logistics, service and merchandising. Managed by Greenwood, the first satellite office opened in Tampa, Florida. Greenwood and Wyckoff soon joined forces with Cheryl Stoddard to open the Atlanta, Georgia store. The concept was copied in Dallas, and spurred the debut of stores in Houston and Southern California. Others involved in the process included Jeff Deskin, Randy Kilmer, James Ross, Melanie Collins and Dewey Thoes.

In 1991, under the direction of Chief Executive Officer Nathan P. Morton, the company's name was changed to CompUSA, and the company became publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. While under Morton's leadership, CompUSA grew to over $2 billion in revenues. Morton resigned in 1993 after a falling out with the board of directors.[citation needed]

Timeline[edit]

  • 1986 - Under the original name Soft Warehouse, the first of their super stores opens on Marsh and Beltline in Addison Texas
  • 1988 - Opened their second store in Atlanta Georgia
  • 1990 - Long running radio ad campaign featuring character "P.C. Modem" begins.
  • 1993 - Began offering technical services at customer locations.
  • 1996 - Launched retail sales on CompUSA.com.
  • 1997 - Partners with Apple Computer in a "store within a store" concept for selling Macintosh computers. By January 19, 1998, 57 stores had been built with the remainder to be built by February 1998.
  • 1998 - Acquired Tandy's Computer City subsidiary with the help of former CEO Nathan P. Morton.
  • 1998 - In May, the company invested in facilities, technology, and expertise to form CompUSA Call Center Services, a division that provided contact center services to OEMs, corporate help desks, software publishers, and cellular service providers.
  • 2000 - Became privately held company under Grupo Sanborns, a Mexican retail company.
  • 2001 - In July, CompUSA Call Center Services became The Telvista Company.[10]
  • 2003 - Acquired Good Guys.[11]
  • 2005 - Converted three CompUSA stores and 13 Good Guys stores into megastores. Closed all 46 Good Guys locations. Began marketing in California and Hawaii as "CompUSA with Good Guys Inside" in response to Best Buy's marketing campaign "with Magnolia Inside".
  • 2005 - CompUSA started a customer loyalty program called The CompUSA Network. For every dollar spent at any CompUSA store, the customer received 13 points.
  • 2006 - Sales of the CompUSA Network membership cards were suspended pending further investigation onto the operation's effect on customer retention and "program awareness among low-visit customers."[this quote needs a citation]
  • 2006 - CompUSA announced the end of the Network Reward program. All customers were issued coupons for the remaining reward value. They were also offered a refund of the original purchase price in the original form of payment, surrendering remaining points.
  • 2006 - Announced the closing of 15 stores across the United States including several locations in California. These stores were being used to liquidate discontinued items from other stores across the nation until the end of October. Roman Ross, a former Philip Morris executive, replaced Tony Weiss as president and CEO after only four months in office. In November 2006, CompUSA launched their new "Home Entertainment" rollout in 40 of its stores, including Puerto Rico, that sold a variety of high definition televisions and home theater equipment. Ross claimed that home entertainment was one of his chief focuses as the new CEO.[12] In September, it was reported that CompUSA's Mexican parent, Grupo Carso, was interested in putting CompUSA up for sale.[13]
  • 2007 - The company announced the closing and liquidation of 126 stores due to the "need to close and sell stores with low performance or non strategic, old store layouts and locations faced with market saturation," according to CEO Roman Ross.[14] The realignment included a $440 million cash infusion, store closures, major expense reductions, and a corporate restructuring.
  • 2007 - On May 14, CompUSA finalizes the first round of store closures as liquidation sales end.
  • 2007 - On December 7, CompUSA was acquired by Specialty Equity, an affiliate of Gordon Brothers Group, as discussions led to the agreement on store sales and closeouts for the remaining 103 stores.[15]
  • 2008 - On January 6, Systemax Inc. announced an agreement on the acquisition of the CompUSA brand, trademarks, e-commerce business, and as many as 16 CompUSA retail outlets in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico.[16]
  • 2008 - On March 2, CompUSA finalizes the round of store closures that started on Dec 7. AT&T Consumer Home Services agrees in principle to purchase the TechPro group for an unstated amount.
  • 2008 - On March 21, CompUSA announces that 12 CompUSA stores are open to the public.[17]
  • 2008 - On October 22, CompUSA announces a new strategy called 'Retail 2.0' which integrates Internet shopping convenience throughout retail stores. Concept store debuts to public at Dadeland Miami, Florida location.[18]

Slogans[edit]

Many of the stores still bore the slogan, "The Computer Superstore" at the time of closing. Most of the new Systemax stores also bear this slogan.

  • "The Computer Superstore." (1997 - May 2003) (Used on popular radio ad campaign, and still used on some remaining CompUSA locations.)
  • "Where America Buys Technology." (May 2003 - July 2005)
  • "We got it. We get it." (July 2005– February 2007)
  • "PCs, TVs, and More!" (February 2007 - November 2012)
  • "Where Puerto Rico Buys Technology." (May 2003 - July 2005)
  • "Lo Tenemos. Lo Entendemos." (Translation: "We got it. We get it," essentially a Spanish translation of the English slogan.) (July 2005 - 2006)

Brands[edit]

  • CompUSA PC
  • CompuDyne
  • Northwood Micro

Closings and sale to Systemax[edit]

Typical CompUSA store under liquidation

On or immediately before February 28, 2007, CompUSA retained the services of Gordon Brothers, a company that specializes in asset recovery and restructuring, for the purposes of closing 126 stores nationwide.[19] The closing locations were chosen based upon their overall performance, profitability, and proximity to competitors such as Best Buy, Fry's Electronics, Micro Center, and Circuit City. This first round of closings reduced the number of stores to less than half of its previous number.

During the liquidation process, the stores typically offered discounts starting at 5 to 30 percent off of retail prices, ending at up to 95 percent.[citation needed] Liquidation was completed on May 14, 2007.

On December 7, 2007, CompUSA was sold to Specialty Equity, an affiliate of Gordon Brothers Group.[20]

On January 6, 2008, a month after CompUSA was sold to liquidators, Systemax, Inc. (TigerDirect's parent company) announced its purchase of 16 CompUSA locations as well as the brand, trademarks, e-commerce business, and technical services.

Systemax also had announced that the eleven existing and three TigerDirect-branded retail stores that were under construction would be converted to the CompUSA brand over the spring of 2008.[21]

On November 2, 2012, it was announced that Systemax would drop both the CompUSA and Circuit City storefront brands by consolidating their businesses under the TigerDirect brand and website. That officially marked the end of the heritage CompUSA brand name for good.[8] Customers of both businesses were informed via e-mail on November 7, 2012.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Form 10-K Annual Report
  2. ^ "About CompUSA.com, Inc." CompUSA. Retrieved on January 7, 2010.
  3. ^ "Wright Reports Company Profile - US Commercial Corp SAB De CV". wrightreports.ecnext.com. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  4. ^ http://www.marketwatch.com/story/compusa-bought-by-gordon-bros-group-to-close-stores
  5. ^ Miguel Bustillo (March 22, 2010). "Systemax Gives New Life to Failed Brands". The Wall Street Journal (New York: Dow Jones). ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ CompUSA.com Retail Store Locator
  7. ^ CompUSA Retail 2.0 Store Updates
  8. ^ a b http://www.twice.com/articletype/news/systemax-cut-circuit-city-compusa-brands-exit-pc-manufacturing/103788
  9. ^ Halkias, Maria. CompUSA couldn't overcome obsolete practices. The Dallas Morning News. 2008-02-05.
  10. ^ "Telvista's History". telvista.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  11. ^ CompUSA To Buy Good Guys. About.com. 2003-09-29.
  12. ^ Laura Heller (September 5, 2006). "CompUSA names new CEO". DSN Retailing Today. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  13. ^ CompUSA seeking buyer, paper says. CNN Money. 2006-09-13.
  14. ^ "CompUSA Announces Realignment Strategy" (Press release). CompUSA. 2007-02-27. 
  15. ^ CompUSA Store Closings. C-Net. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  16. ^ "Systemax Announces Definitive Agreement to Acquire Selected Assets and Retail Stores From CompUSA". RedOrbit.com. 2008-01-06. Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  17. ^ "CompUSA News: 12 Stores Already Open" (Press release). CompUSA. 2008-03-21. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  18. ^ Ganapati, Priya (April 9, 2009). "CompUSA Comes Back from the Dead". Wired. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  19. ^ "Closing Stores". CompUSA. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  20. ^ "CompUSA sold to Boston-based firm". Honolulu Star Bulletin. 8 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  21. ^ "Plano CompUSA store to re-open". Dallas News. 12 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 

External links[edit]