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CompUSA to shutter 126 retail stores amid restructuring

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 
CompUSA, a computer and electronics retailer that has served as an Apple partner since the 90's, plans to close more than 50 percent of its stores over the next few months as part of a comprehensive restructuring strategy.

The chain, privately owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, said it will receive an immediate $440 million cash capital infusion aimed at boosting the company's balance sheet as part of the realignment. However, it did not identify the source of the infusion.

"Based on changing conditions in the consumer retail electronics market, the company identified the need to close and sell stores with low performance or non strategic, old store layouts and locations faced with market saturation," said CompUSA chief executive Roman Ross.

Ross said the process began last week with the closing of four CompUSA stores and will proceed to a total of 126 U.S.-based locations over the next 60-90 days in an effort to help the ailing retailer "focus on initiatives that enhance its top performing locations."

For Apple, the store closings will represent a near 2 percent immediate decline in its number of worldwide Mac distribution points. CompUSA locations have long featured Apple boutiques, or "stores within a store," that serve to prominently display and market the computer maker's personal computers.

Conversely, the restructuring at CompUSA should free up a number of Apple Solution Consultants (ASCs), which the Mac maker could then transition to its emerging store-within-a-store concepts at trendier Circuity City and Best Buy locations around the country.

In a report published this past September, AppleInsider noted that Apple was considering a move that would pull its trained ASCs from the deteriorating CompUSA boutiques and reassign them to its ongoing Circuit City pilot program.

Following the store closures, CompUSA said it will maintain operations at 103 stores in 39 states and Puerto Rico. The retailer will also continue to offer products and services at 1-800-CompUSA and online at compusa.com.

Update: A list of remaining stores can be seen here.
post #2 of 71
Bummer. That's our only Apple Store in my city. Hopefully this one doesn't close or I guess it's time to invest in a true Apple Store to open up here.
post #3 of 71
Wow, more stores. They did this about a year ago and the one in my town closed then. Let's hope the last one left in the KC metro will stay open...not that I ever go there. \
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post #4 of 71
I say so long suckers! The one here tries to scheme all the time. A while back they had G4 laptops selling for the same price as the new Intel laptops. They don't TELL the customer that there are newer laptops available for pretty much the same price, you just have to know that there are Macbooks now. Assholes.
post #5 of 71
Here is the master list of the remaining stores that won't be closed:
http://www.compusa.com/locations/store.asp

My first reaction is to be disappointed in this, but then I realize that I haven't entered a CompUSA in probably 4 years. I guess that's what happens when a store lags behind in a "saturated" market.
post #6 of 71
They also do not stock well, I was looking for a wireless keyboard since I already bought the wireless mouse and all I saw was the wired keyboards, I figured let me check all of them out and they had 1 wireless keyboard all the way in the back yet no SKU for it on the shelf.
post #7 of 71
In my best Michael Moore impression...

/beginsarcasm

Congratulations Wal-Mart for becoming the #2 computer retailer in the USA (behind Best Buy). Once again, your market strategy has really shown how by offering low prices, you are able to add value to the US economy by creating efficient market forces that allow the strongest competitors to survive.

Thanks also for being such a great member of the community. The jobs your company provides go a long way to keeping the food banks of your local communities busy and really help build that corporate team spirit. Knowing that your staff of corporate volunteers will be ready at the food bank to help the former CompUSA staff feed thier children through the long dark months ahead will certainly be a comfort to them.

/endsarcasm
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post #8 of 71
Oh boo hoo I can't pay 10% over retail anymore. Here in Dallas there's a Best Buy and CompUSA right next to each other. I'd go into CompUSA first and then ALWAYS find the same item cheaper at Best Buy.
post #9 of 71
For a long time, I was pretty happy with them and their service, but their insistence on multiple rebates is why I don't buy as much as I would and my opinion of them dropped in the past few monts. I don't want to pay only a partly discounted price and then wait 10 weeks for the rest of the rebate, just yesterday I got the rebate check for a Dec 12 purchase which I submitted the rebate the same day.

I thought they said publicly that they were doing away with rebates but that doesn't seem to be true. I guess it's one less option for local sources of parts that I need same-day. They were a half-decent place for computer upgrade parts, even internal cables, brackets and such that the local specialty store sometimes didn't have for some unknown reason.
post #10 of 71
Looks like mine's not closing. I guess that's good. Last year they went through the "large screen TV" renovation with lots of floor space being turned into a dark cave full of TVs.

There's a Best Buy in the same shopping plaza, a CC across the street with Target and Office Depot. And two Wal*Marts within 10 minutes. I'd say the area is pretty saturated.

CompUSA feels like KMart to me. Every time I go in the place seems kinda run down and like no one really cares.

- Jasen.
post #11 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

The one here tries to scheme all the time. A while back they had G4 laptops selling for the same price as the new Intel laptops. They don't TELL the customer that there are newer laptops available for pretty much the same price, you just have to know that there are Macbooks now. Assholes.

Yeah, and at the one by me they try and push you onto buying the $300 AppleCare Plan so much that it borders on harassment. One of the reasons I buy a Mac is because I have never needed anything like that. I know that I'm lucky though - my father-in-law bought a PowerMac from them 3 years ago and had Kernel Panics regularly. He never did anything about it during the first year that he had a warranty on it - then when they started happening daily, he called Apple, bought the AppleCare Plan and had it fixed. Turned out to be a bad graphics card. Still, I don't buy the AppleCare plan unless I'm going to need it.
post #12 of 71
I'm not upset at all about this. I remember when there was CompUSA and Computer City which I believe was Tandy owned. Both were suffering if I remember right and Computer CIty closed down and I figured one could survive.
Yet it seems CompUSA couldn't make it work. I remember them starting to sell phones, plasma tv's, etc. saying how they were broadening their market. Yet I don't think they should have tried to compete against Office Depot and Best Buy. I do think their is room for a computer store like this, just not how CompUSA was run.
Whenever I went in in my pre-Mac days my experience was just not high prices but often with a few minutes on the internet I could learn much more about a product than any salesperson could tell me there. I used to hear a lot of flak over purchasing online and how it is bad for the local guy. I'd be glad to support the local stores but most of the time they have no clue what they are selling so it's not even about the old idea of going to a local store for information and then purchasing online for a better price. Often when I went as well employees were busy playing games or so and ignored me even when I asked for help and customer service such as returning items was awful.
Then in my later Mac days I found out often they had the previous generation hardware and not a good selection. Also, with it being in the back of the store often I found before you even made it to the Mac section the PC people would stop you first and try to sell you on a PC. For this reason I wonder if this could even help Apple. I just wonder how many new PC purchasers would go in and bought a PC because they got to that section first or a PC salesperson told them a PC is what they want.
post #13 of 71
Maybe they should open a couple stores in the states where they are still absent after all these years ... or just sell out to Best Buy. Some of the CompUSA stores are old, the staff not friendly, the market is saturated with systems, people order online, best buy and others are everywhere.

Despite the fact that the Apple Consultants were/are always smart, up to date and very helpful ... I would not and have not been able to buy a mac there. They are several weeks to months behind with stocking new models ... and they don't really discount models from previous product lines. $100 off on a in store demo model that has been around for 3-6 months at least. Are you kidding me?! No discounts on older models until they actually have the new ones on the shelf.

I recall it took many months for them to have a single Dual G5 in the store on display, and then there was still no stock.

One time I nearly bought a slightly discounted demo 12" G4 PB from a very friendly Apple Consultant because he was going to bundle it with some software (newer iLife and/or Word or something) and 3yr AppleCare included. The newer model was out and he was motivated to sell. I was ready to buy, but the manager didn't back him and then it was just not a sweet enough deal.

Several times we've wanted to buy a camera or PDA at CompUsa ... but they are out of stock, or just had something on clearance. One giant bad thing : the clearance items had no cord (proprietary!), no dock, no battery, no documentation, no warranty card, no software disc, no box, can't verify that it works, non-returnable ... for $75-$100 off?! Under the pitch that you can easily order that stuff from the manufacturer.

Doh! The average camera battery costs $50 ... to begin with. PDA cradles and cables aren't cheap either. They're just too greedy. I'll pay 50% for something that misses something, but not 80-90%. And non-returnable. Sure I might as well throw money out the window.
post #14 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wally View Post

Still, I don't buy the AppleCare plan unless I'm going to need it.

This is questionable advise - Buy it when you need it. That is only good advise for the first year. After that you are SOL. Furthermore, a laptop is where you will need it the most. I agree to the wait a year to see how bad the machine is holding up, But replacing the keyboard is nearly the cost of the apple care. To me, with machine that will be abused in typical usage, apple care is not a gamble, but a necessity. Desktops I wonder what kind of abuse it will take and question the need for it. But a laptop - it's a no brainer.
post #15 of 71
Quote:
The chain, privately owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim,

Damn, that's a cool name. Where do I get a name like 'Carlos Slim'?

But yeah, his stores do suck. Pretty much just another Best Buy or Circuit City, but with 'less stuff'.

I'll stick to Apple Stores, and Fry's(when I want to 'slum it'). 8)

.
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post #16 of 71
Ok, let's try to edit before we post. I wouldn't have let that mess out without at least one read through. Embarrassing.
post #17 of 71
According to that list, every CompUSA in Los Angeles will close. I find that hard to believe.
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post #18 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wally View Post

Yeah, and at the one by me they try and push you onto buying the $300 AppleCare Plan so much that it borders on harassment. One of the reasons I buy a Mac is because I have never needed anything like that. I know that I'm lucky though - my father-in-law bought a PowerMac from them 3 years ago and had Kernel Panics regularly. He never did anything about it during the first year that he had a warranty on it - then when they started happening daily, he called Apple, bought the AppleCare Plan and had it fixed. Turned out to be a bad graphics card. Still, I don't buy the AppleCare plan unless I'm going to need it.

The support with AppleCare is very good though. Apple products aren't impervious to failure. I do wait until the first year is almost up though. You need to buy it before the first year is up or else they won't apply it. The Applecare for my iPods have paid for themselves a few times over, they replaced one when it started stalling, and another when the drive failed, in both cases, after the first year is up. It's also well worth it for notebooks, if you start getting a splotchy screen or have a fried port in the second or third year then you are out a lot of money to fix it.

Some of Apple's products shouldn't need it a separate purchase, I think their workstations should include the full 3 years like their competitors do.
post #19 of 71
I say bring on more Fry's! Yeah, there Mac section sucks, their staff are ill informed but they have some amazing deals and great return policys on hardware and it's not obvious if you are buying an open box item or not.

I worked at CompUSA like ten years ago and I was the dedicated Mac Guy and loved every day of it but then when they brought in a new GM (who traveled like more than 60 miles one way in his commute) and was a major ass to boot it was time for me to go.

I actually left and tried to come back. The day of my interview with this guy he says "first thing you need to do is tuck in your shirt and you gotta sell PCs too and do a major push with the extended warrenty."

I was the first in any of their stores nationwide who brought in my own DV video camera and demo'd off iMovie 1.0....then all the Apple sales reps came in with a DV camera provided by Apple and did the same. I was a legend in my own right
post #20 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmdoughnuts View Post

This is questionable advise - Buy it when you need it. That is only good advise for the first year. After that you are SOL. Furthermore, a laptop is where you will need it the most. I agree to the wait a year to see how bad the machine is holding up, But replacing the keyboard is nearly the cost of the apple care. To me, with machine that will be abused in typical usage, apple care is not a gamble, but a necessity. Desktops I wonder what kind of abuse it will take and question the need for it. But a laptop - it's a no brainer.

I agree. I always suggest getting the three year warranty on any laptop (apple or dell or whoever). But I even got it with my dual G5 tower, not because I NEEDED it, but because I knew if anything went wrong, it would cost a ton of money to get it fixed. There's no source for cheap, replacable parts for a mac (look at the hell you have to go through to replace the bad power supplies on the towers, you can't get one, you have to get it fixed for you).
post #21 of 71
I believe the article should be referring to Carlos Slim Helu. Not Carlos Slim.

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post #22 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by phatfos1 View Post

Ok, let's try to edit before we post. I wouldn't have let that mess out without at least one read through. Embarrassing.

Um... who or what is that directed towards? The article?

.
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post #23 of 71
Despite early bad reports years ago, I've found CompUSA to be a GREAT Apple store--a close second to the "real thing"--in recent years. Walk-up warranty service, knoweldgeable staff, and all the latest Apple and 3rd-party goodies up and running. They encourage you to play around and try stuff, but when you leave they make sure a cool demo is running on the screen again. In other words, pretty close to a real Apple Store. And located in the midst of a store that Windows users frequent--probably a good thing for switchers to see.

Loos like mine is staying open
post #24 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post

I say bring on more Fry's! Yeah, there Mac section sucks, their staff are ill informed but they have some amazing deals and great return policys on hardware and it's not obvious if you are buying an open box item or not.

I worked at CompUSA like ten years ago and I was the dedicated Mac Guy and loved every day of it but then when they brought in a new GM (who traveled like more than 60 miles one way in his commute) and was a major ass to boot it was time for me to go.

I actually left and tried to come back. The day of my interview with this guy he says "first thing you need to do is tuck in your shirt and you gotta sell PCs too and do a major push with the extended warrenty."

I was the first in any of their stores nationwide who brought in my own DV video camera and demo'd off iMovie 1.0....then all the Apple sales reps came in with a DV camera provided by Apple and did the same. I was a legend in my own right

Fry's is considered to be one of THE WORST!

They have been citited several times for selling used products, and mis-labeled ones as well.

I would stay away.
post #25 of 71
I wonder if they'll have any kind of clearance at the closing stores. That'd be awesome if they slashed prices...
post #26 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Fry's is considered to be one of THE WORST!

They have been citited several times for selling used products, and mis-labeled ones as well.

I would stay away.

I second that. I bought a product I thought was new, that upon closer examination proved to be repackaged. I took it back and demanded a refund.

I haven't set foot in a Fry's since.

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post #27 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Oh boo hoo I can't pay 10% over retail anymore. Here in Dallas there's a Best Buy and CompUSA right next to each other. I'd go into CompUSA first and then ALWAYS find the same item cheaper at Best Buy.

I bet without that CompUSA close to a BestBuy, there is less incentive for Best Buy to work hard to keep your business. A great model for preditory businesses is to kill the competition off by undercutting them till they fold, then raise prices when you have little competion left.
post #28 of 71
Our store in my area is closing now the nearest compusa is 177 miles away talk about life sucks

i loved that store. i go there at least once a week!
post #29 of 71
Don't know about other stores, but the CompUSA in Emeryville seems to have gone out of its way to make the in-store experience as unpleasant as possible.

All the big ticket items have some kind of security device that makes a loud, high pitched "beep" about every 20 seconds (which means there are multiple high pitched beeps happening around the store at all times), and at least once every 15 minutes or so someone manages to trigger the actual alarm, which is head exploding shriek that apparently takes a team of professionals at least 5 minutes to locate and shut off.

Then there is the grocery store level of in-store music, which is regularly punctuated with horribly loud pitches for various CompUSA products and services, all in that tear your face off "cheerful and excited" style of voice over.

Add to that the confusing layout, malfunctioning display items, poor lighting, and the "in your face when you just want to browse but nowhere to be found when you have a question" staff, and the whole place is one giant headache machine.

Not that Best Buy is a garden of eden or anything, but somehow it just doesn't feel as oppressive.

Seems like you either have to be a real big box outfit like BB and just overwhelm people with stuff, or be good at focusing and developing a vibe other than "sleazy con artists" (failure at which being what killed the amusingly named "Good Guys", who in fact where thieving bastards).

Circuit City seems to be doing a fair job of navigating these waters, with much more appealing remodeled stores and a lot of emphasis on big screen TVs and home theater. We'll see.
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post #30 of 71
All but one CompuUSA closing in Arizona. Now it's 120 miles to the nearest one for me. I can always use mail order if I have to.

As for Fry's, you always have to check the packaging very closely, then buy two of the same item. This is to increase your odds that you will get a working item. If you only bought one and it doesn''t work, it's back to the store. If you buy two and the first one you try doesn't work, the second one most likely will. If the first one works, great. Since you are most likely going back anyway, you might as well start by buying two of them.

j
post #31 of 71
when do the clearance sales start?!??!
post #32 of 71
I checked the remaining store list. Not a single store left in Orange County or LA County of California... Back in my PC days, I used to work at the Long Beach Store...

Go Apple Store.
post #33 of 71
Interesting to note that the source of the cash infusion for CompUSA has not been declared; could it be part of a new marketing strategy for Apple? Might they have plans to revitalise CompUSA and move towards a big new re-opening in better locations and better stores, with their increasing product portfolio, which may well have grown larger still by the time the 'restructuring' of the CompUSA business is complete?

Just a thought!
post #34 of 71
I consider this the beginning of the end for CompUSA. They're just postponing the inevitable.

Agent Smith: "That is the sound of inevitability. It is the sound of your death." But CompUSA is no Neo.
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post #35 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Don't know about other stores, but the CompUSA in Emeryville seems to have gone out of its way to make the in-store experience as unpleasant as possible.

All the big ticket items have some kind of security device that makes a loud, high pitched "beep" about every 20 seconds (which means there are multiple high pitched beeps happening around the store at all times), and at least once every 15 minutes or so someone manages to trigger the actual alarm, which is head exploding shriek that apparently takes a team of professionals at least 5 minutes to locate and shut off.

My local CUSA unit hasn't had any of the problems you described. That would be annoying and I would have stayed away if that's what they did.
post #36 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aflaaak View Post

I bet without that CompUSA close to a BestBuy, there is less incentive for Best Buy to work hard to keep your business. A great model for preditory businesses is to kill the competition off by undercutting them till they fold, then raise prices when you have little competion left.

There may be some truth to that, BB basically set the Musicland Group on a drain-circling spiral. I don't think they raised their in-store prices though.
post #37 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

I say so long suckers! The one here tries to scheme all the time. A while back they had G4 laptops selling for the same price as the new Intel laptops. They don't TELL the customer that there are newer laptops available for pretty much the same price, you just have to know that there are Macbooks now. Assholes.

I worked for CompUSA as a Tech salesman a number of years ago, and witnessed multiple incidents of management and other salesmen willing and knowingly decieving customers. As an example, other salesmen told me that a "great" way to increase the total ticket price on a sale was to grab higher margin items (printer cables/ink/etc.) from the shelf and placing them in the shopping basket while pushing a customer who had decided to buy a CPU, monitor, etc., basket to the front of the store...with the hope that the customer wouldn't really notice the extra $80 to $200 in items until after the sale. Really shady stuff.

In fact, I quit my job (which paid very well in commission otherwise...upwards of 60k a year for selling computers from the floor!) because I grew tired of the enviornment.

I'm not surprised to see this happening.
post #38 of 71
Maybe if their customer service didn't suck, people would actually shop there. At the one by me, if you weren't looking at a computer, you weren't getting assistance. But walk into the computer section, and you couldn't go 2 steps without being offered assistance.

And their great deals that mysteriously sold out before I got there even though I was there a mere 15 minutes after it opened. There was probably a bunch of the item sitting in the stock room that they moved off the floor in the morning so they were "out of stock."
post #39 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by parksgm View Post

As an example, other salesmen told me that a "great" way to increase the total ticket price on a sale was to grab higher margin items (printer cables/ink/etc.) from the shelf and placing them in the shopping basket while pushing a customer who had decided to buy a CPU, monitor, etc., basket to the front of the store...with the hope that the customer wouldn't really notice the extra $80 to $200 in items until after the sale. Really shady stuff.

Happened to me once, but I caught the guy doing it and told him off, then I yelled at the top of my lungs to a bunch of other customers at the checkout lines to check their carts for stuff that was put in their carts without their knowledge. I left without buying anything, and several others did too.
post #40 of 71
DAMN IT DAMN IT DAMN IT!!

The CompUSA where I buy ink for my printer, and other things I can't find at the Apple Store is shutting down!


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