CompUSA (Slowly) Closing Stores

March 13, 2007

CompUSABit of a departure here today, nothing earth-shattering but I wanted to share some of what I learned about the fire-sale CompUSA is currently running. You’ve no doubt heard by now that the electronics retailer is closing 126 stores in hopes of staying afloat amidst an ever increasing field of competitors. When I first heard about the ‘going out of business’ sale I thought “Hey great, maybe I can pick-up some deals.”

Today I was reminded why I hadn’t shopped at CompUSA in nearly a year and likely why they’re experiencing financial troubles to begin with. This “everything must go” clearance sale in its current state, doesn’t amount to much of a sale at all. I was hard pressed to find anything discounted over 10%, that combined with the poor state the store was in and the one, count him, one salesperson working the register didn’t make my purchase today feel like much of a bargain at all.

I went in looking for a Jabra BT125 bluetooth headset and did indeed find one, only after assuring two different sales people that I had verified they were in-stock on the way over. That bit of inconvenience however was about to be trumped by standing in line for 20 minutes to check-out, only to be told that the in-store rebate doesn’t apply to items purchased in closing stores. Like I said, this is why I don’t shop at CompUSA in the first place. If I wanted to pay 90% of retail I didn’t have to schlep across town to do so.

I did see quite a few flat-panel displays on-sale with the aforementioned 10% off stickers but I have the strange feeling that by the time the powers-that-be move to 20, 30, or even 40% reductions, any stock I would be interested in would have been long gone. In a nutshell, 10% off is hardly anything to get excited over at a store that typically priced their merchandise 5-10% higher than their competitors to begin with. I feel sorry for those losing their jobs (my cashier mentioned nearly everyone from his store is getting axed), hopefully the handful of stores that remain will find a way to make them profitable.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Home Theater Equipment


Comments

  • westcott

    I am kind of torn. I used to shop at CompUSA before the internet really took over and competion was not so prevalent. The one thing I did like about CompUSA is that they carried more of the quality brands that I was interested in. The contrast is a store like Fry’s. Not sure if you have them where you live but they are huge stores with everything you can think of. The bad part is, unless you know what you are buying, 97% of their inventory is garbage. Now, a lot of people do not know the difference between a good motherboard or modem or graphics card etc. and so Fry’s sells this junk to the uninformed. And as I have been noticing more and more, there are a lot of uninformed, impulse buyers. The margins are incredible on the junk they sell and the business model of carrying everything under the sun, keeps customers in the stores longer and they rarely walk out of the store empty handed. Is it ethical? That is still up for debate but it is profitable and it seems to working for Fry’s.

  • westcott

    I am kind of torn. I used to shop at CompUSA before the internet really took over and competion was not so prevalent. The one thing I did like about CompUSA is that they carried more of the quality brands that I was interested in. The contrast is a store like Fry’s. Not sure if you have them where you live but they are huge stores with everything you can think of. The bad part is, unless you know what you are buying, 97% of their inventory is garbage. Now, a lot of people do not know the difference between a good motherboard or modem or graphics card etc. and so Fry’s sells this junk to the uninformed. And as I have been noticing more and more, there are a lot of uninformed, impulse buyers. The margins are incredible on the junk they sell and the business model of carrying everything under the sun, keeps customers in the stores longer and they rarely walk out of the store empty handed. Is it ethical? That is still up for debate but it is profitable and it seems to working for Fry’s.

  • Keith Benedict

    I went to Comp USA yesterday in the hopes of finding a cheap set of speakers for my wife. I found a pair, but they were only discounted $2 off the normal $19.99 retail. I spent a few minutes browsing the store and wound up looking at their TVs. They were on sale for 10% off. They had a Mits 57″ DLP for $2189 (after the 10% off, no returns, no warranty, blah, blah, blah). I was able to find the same TV at Circuit City for $1999.

    As you suggested, this is why they are going out of business and why they’ll continue to have to close stores. The prices suck, the people are rarely helpful, and the time at the check-out counter is beyond ridiculous.

  • Keith Benedict

    I went to Comp USA yesterday in the hopes of finding a cheap set of speakers for my wife. I found a pair, but they were only discounted $2 off the normal $19.99 retail. I spent a few minutes browsing the store and wound up looking at their TVs. They were on sale for 10% off. They had a Mits 57″ DLP for $2189 (after the 10% off, no returns, no warranty, blah, blah, blah). I was able to find the same TV at Circuit City for $1999.

    As you suggested, this is why they are going out of business and why they’ll continue to have to close stores. The prices suck, the people are rarely helpful, and the time at the check-out counter is beyond ridiculous.

  • Mike

    I just checked and the two stores I would normally use are to close. So I put my metro San Diego zip code in the locater form and the nearest store was 200 miles away in Bakersfield. Sooooo, they’re going to be the “Farmer’s Electronics Superstore.”

  • Mike

    I just checked and the two stores I would normally use are to close. So I put my metro San Diego zip code in the locater form and the nearest store was 200 miles away in Bakersfield. Sooooo, they’re going to be the “Farmer’s Electronics Superstore.”