December 7, 2007

CompUSA Closing?

Nothing written below should be considered "on the record" I am not authorized to speak for CompUSA but feel I should provide as much info to customers (and other CompUSA employee's apparently) as I can, so I will share what I know and hear but don't hold it against me if I'm wrong. They are doing a good job of keeping all employees in the dark about this. If you have info you want me to post, use the contact me link on the blog and we will get in touch.

Most people have already heard the news of CompUSA being acquired by the Gordon Brothers. Well, some of you may also know that I work for CompUSA in their Business Sales department. The best part about all this news is until I emailed the Wall Street Journal article to my bosses, they didn't say anything about it to anyone, and at this point, there is still no "official" word internally.

Here is some info that I have been able to gather:

  • No official word on a time frame, although rumors indicate no inventory has been ordered beyond January
  • They MIGHT be keeping a few select stores becasue the markets make them profitable (Florida, Hawaii and Puerto Rico are likely candidates for this)
  • Gordon Brothers did the first round of closings, so they are familiar with the store.

My Thoughts:

I doubt CompUSA will keep any stores open, it would not be profitable. Retailers stay profitable because they can buy in bulk at discounted rates. If you only have 1 or 2 stores, the "bulk" of your sales goes away and you can't buy for very cheap. This means you have to raise prices. In the Electronics Retail Industry, stores can't afford to raise prices, especially not CompUSA since Best Buy and Circuit City are bigger and can then sell for much cheaper. So even if they did keep the store open, it would be for a short time unless it gets bought by Best Buy or one of the other large competitors, otherwise CompUSA is as good as gone in my opinion.

The most disturbing part about all of this is how in the dark they are keeping their employee's. Most of CompUSA's staff are high school and college kids doing sales, but there are a few "career" sales men here and they are going to hurt the most. As of now, employees are still being told that we are not closing, but we know that isn't true.

Personally, I won't be effected much. I have a real full time job and just use CompUSA for some extra cash as well as the discount (OK I'll miss the discount). I'm going to use the extra time to build up more of my certifications (finally) and expand my consulting and freelance business.

I'm also hoping for a big closing sale. I assume we will be the last store closed since we are the most profitable, which means they send all the stuff they need to sell to us (like they did in the last round of closures) when this happens, and they finally close us, I'm hoping there will be some good deals.

About CompUSA Warranties:

CompUSA TAP plans are not backed by CompUSA, they are backed and honored by a larger firm, CompUSA just sells them like any other product. So for anyone who bought a TAP plan, it is still good AND WILL BE HONORED FOR THE LIFE OF THE PLAN.

  • Apparently the new owners don't trust the current employees. They have sent in private security to monitor the store until the news settles down. The stores will also be in lock down after hours. Typically we have overnight crew restocking, but until further notice anyone in the store after 11pm and before 7am will be arrested for trespassing. nice.

  • Someone asked me about gift cards. Because internally there has been no official "yes we are closing the store" announcement, there will be no refunds on gift cards yet. However, in the event something does happen, I have to believe they will accommodate the customers in some way.

  • Press may contact CompUSA via telephone: 214-551-1549 or via email for information about the purchase and potential closing.

  • We finally got "official" word that we got sold...only 24 hours after I read about it online. Our managers are still confident that this store won't be closing (they think it will be bought as we are one of the few profitable stores). The managers are pretty upset becasue corporate didn't tell them until right before the news got the info.

  • It is business as usual until we hear otherwise from the corporate office. Ill be updating as I hear more info.

  • From what I am seeing, it looks like they may not close all stores. They are going to try and sell off some of the individual stores and also the online store (which makes a good deal of money) and also the Tech Pro service (this will probably see to another retailer) the stores that can't be sold (and that will be a vast majority I'm sure) will be closed.

  • Here is a local article with statements from our general manager about the sale and closing.

  • I have been doing some thinking about the potential for selling the stores individually. The only company that I could see buying the store I work in is Fry's and here is why. Best Buy has two stores near us (and are not doing all that great) Circuit City has a store near us, but I don't think they are in a position to expand. Hawaii is a good market for electronics becasue it is so isolated, it is why the Honolulu Store has done so well in comparison to the rest of the company. Fry's has no presence in Hawaii, and would make a killing here. Our store is 40,000 Square feet so it has the size to be a Fry's and we are in a good location (right in the center of the business district) So if we get bought, my money is on Fry's and I for one would welcome our new computer retailer overlords :) (god I hope we get a Fry's here)

  • According to one of our commentors, some of the CompUSA stores already have teams in the store going through inventory preparing to clear it out and begin the liquidation. Other sources say liquidation teams are expected to be in a large number of stores early next week. And we should see the first stores close within the first half of January.

  • Looks like the Gordon Bros. have sent a rep to our store. They landed this afternoon and will be in at 9am. They move quick.

  • CompUSA will no longer be selling gift cards, and will be refunding them if you bring them to the store if they were purchased within the return period of 21 days.

  • All rebates in our printed ad will be honored as instant savings rather than mail in rebates until Wednesday, the only exception is rebates on software that require you to have a previous version. Products still within the price match period will also qualify for this as long as you have not already filed for the rebates.

  • Pro-Rated refunds for maintenance/repair plans on equipment MIGHT be available under certain circumstances (we haven't been told what those circumstances are) Call the number you were given with you plan for more information.

  • Contrary to out managers beliefs, it looks like our store will be shutting down by mid February, if not sooner.

  • I just wanted to say thanks to all of the customers calling and saying how much they hope we don't close. Every day we get calls with complaints, but yesterday and today we have had dozens of people calling and wishing us the best of luck and saying they hope we aren't gone for good. It's nice, and we appreciate it.

  • Ok, so the info you have all been waiting for. The liquidation sales. Here is the schedule thus far. Monday/Tuesday GMs are getting filled in on everything. Wednesday is the end of the currently running advertisement. Thursday liquidation starts. Target prices we have been getting are 10%-20% BELOW COST not off retail. Desktops are typically cost +10-15% so this is going to make it about 25 percent off. TVs are around cost + 20%-50% so these will be huge savings. Cables and other accessories can be as high as cost + 1000% (seriously) but can be fond on the cheap online anyway. Good luck everyone.

  • All sales as of today are final.We no longer take checks, and can no longer order product. All we can sell is what is in the store. Tomorrow the sales start. This is going to be like an auction with no bidders. They liquidator will start by taking 5-10 percent off things and if no one buys them they will lower the prices. The longer you wait, the lower the prices, but be careful not to wait so long that somone buys the product you want. DON"T BE AFRAID TO MAKE OFFERS

  • I walked into work today and was welcomed with these:

These signs are plastered all over the store. awesome.

  • We were given out pink slips today. Our last day is sometime between Feb 8 and Feb 22

  • Lot's of companies are starting to call offering jobs to the employees, it is really cool. our GM says he plans on having a mini Job fair type thing in January and inviting the companies to come over and recruit the employee's. Many people are giving their business cards to the sales people already saying they have job openings. I guess this is a perk of living in an area that is at 2% unemployment. Everyone needs more workers.

  • Today there was an announcement of an "Employee Appreciation Sale" we are getting prices which suck only a few days after taking away our employee purchase benefits. The response was not quite what corporate expected and included DOZENS of company wide email blasts in the form of "reply all" to the original email. Questions ranging from "Are we getting severance pay?" to "EVERY DAY IS A GREAT DAY AT GORDON BROTHERS!" a play on the mandatory employee slogan "everyday is a great day at CompUSA" see the screen shot below for just a sampling of the responses before they were cut off. It is obvious employee's want answers and aren't getting them. HR team members were trying to calm everyone but seemed to fail.

  • A new website for customer info has been posted by CompUSA so this will be the last of my updates unless something huge happens or I need to respond to a comment. Visit CompUSA Consumer Info for updates.

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