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CompUSA takes Another Shot at Retail

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 42 comments

After rising from the ashes of bankruptcy, CompUSA is taking another shot at brick-and-mortar retail.

One of the worst parts of a recession is the closure of retail chains across the country. CompUSA, Tweeter and Circuit City went the way of the Dodo, and now Blockbuster might be joining the bankruptcy club. However, for those who still enjoy buying media and electronics in a store and not on the Internet, CompUSA is coming back to a strip mall near you. 

Back in late 2007, CompUSA went into bankruptcy and was sold to Systemax, the same company who owns TigerDirect. With new management at the helm and a new business strategy, the heralded retail chain is back in the swing of things. According to an interview with Wired, Systemax executive and TigerDirect Founder Gilbert Fiorentino claims that the new CompUSA is at the forefront of a new way of doing business. "We have invented this idea of retail 2.0," said Fiorentino. "Every screen in every CompUSA store is now connected to the internet and making buying a richer experience for customers. We are using tech to change the retail experience for the customer and giving them access to all the information on the internet anytime they want during the buying process." Now, if you decide to shop at CompUSA for that new HDTV or laptop, an unfettered Internet connection will help you find the best prices. No Best Buy tricks and no hassles.

While Systemax has maintained a CompUSA retail website for some time now, the store chain is a new aspect for the revamped company. According to the store locator, CompUSA currently has 24 locations in Florida, Illinois, Texas, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico, and soon that number will grow to 30. The new chain is also retooling the physical aspects of the store, so expect remodeled stores as well as better in-store lighting. As for prices, Fiorentino says the in-store prices at CompUSA will be the same as the prices you would find on TigerDirect, because the store chain and website now share the same inventory.

With Circuit City now out of the picture, there is a massive vacuum in the electronics retail sector, with Wal-Mart and Best Buy being the only true nationwide chains left. Hopefully, Systemax and CompUSA can benefit from the lack of competition and close the gap once filled with so many different stores. As long as CompUSA keeps a healthy supply of computer components and peripherals, there should be no issue with keeping the enthusiast crowd happy.

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  • 6 Hide
    fancarolina , April 11, 2009 12:03 AM
    Why not change the name to the TigerDirect Store, cash in on some brand regonition?
  • 4 Hide
    tayb , April 11, 2009 12:20 AM
    It doesn't matter about "Retail Experience 2.0" if the prices aren't competitive. I really don't think having the ability to browse the web on a display laptop is going to convince too many people to buy their if it can be found cheaper elsewhere.
  • -3 Hide
    LATTEH , April 11, 2009 1:33 AM
    if one opens up by me i will go and apply there so it doesn't get assholes
  • 3 Hide
    dconnors , April 11, 2009 1:47 AM
    taybIt doesn't matter about "Retail Experience 2.0" if the prices aren't competitive. I really don't think having the ability to browse the web on a display laptop is going to convince too many people to buy their if it can be found cheaper elsewhere.


    According to the original interview, the prices @ the physical retail stores will be identical to the prices available on TigerDirect's website. If Systemax stays true to this, the prices we see in the new stores should be on par with other e-tailers like NewEgg and ZZF.

    -Devin
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 11, 2009 1:50 AM
    I use to work for both Compusas. The one prior to the closesure was cool. The staff was excellent, everyone was upbeat. As much as I hated the morning sunday meetings, the staff were like hanging with your bestfriends. All in all the old Compusa was fun to work for.

    But after being there when they were bought from System max in 2008, it all went to hell. The management was rude, and inexperienced. Most of the staff who were there with me from the old compusa all either quit or got fired, not because of their behavior but because HR doesnt listen to employee complaints. Senority means nothing. I seen people who worked for compusa for over 5+ years, and being let go like it was nothing. When they let go of me over some bs, I was so happy to leave that place. All the management in the South florida area changed. Hell the district manager quit. I was the guy who everyone in the store would come to if they had a question, and thankfully I was able to answer them.

    The only reason I still shop there is because their prices blow the typical BB, Target, Wal-mart, prices in the water. The prices mimic what Newegg, amazon, and zipzoomfly sells their items for. I just bought a 42" plasma panny from Compusa two months ago. BB had that same tv for $450 more then what Tiger/Compusa was selling. I was able to walk in the store and buy it without delivery charges.
  • 1 Hide
    hotroderx , April 11, 2009 1:52 AM
    We have a compusa near us and the pricing is extremely good. I have bought parts from them because its cheaper then newegg.com in some cases a special since newegg raised there shipping rates. Not to mention they sell OEM items which is NICE why pay retail for a hard drive or floppy cable or usb cable seriously? They also offer computer parts I mean like parts parts as in built a full PC for a client who needed it asap (mission critical system went down needed it up in less then 24hrs) No way newegg or bestbuy could have done that and mom and pop shops would have cost a mini fortune.
  • 2 Hide
    tayb , April 11, 2009 1:54 AM
    dconnorsAccording to the original interview, the prices @ the physical retail stores will be identical to the prices available on TigerDirect's website. If Systemax stays true to this, the prices we see in the new stores should be on par with other e-tailers like NewEgg and ZZF.-Devin


    I don't see how that is possible without operating with a much smaller margin or even a loss. You have to consider the costs of building the stores, powering them, the losses they took on display units, shipping the items to the store, paying the employees, etc. Maybe they are raking in hoards of money from TigerDirect and can afford to make less money to get the name back out there but I just don't see how it is possible. I know that they can be competitive but matching newegg and TigerDirect online prices? That would be a sight to see.
  • 0 Hide
    mamw93 , April 11, 2009 2:07 AM
    They are in odd places. They jumped from Florida to North Carolina and skipped Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. Weird... but it could mean that they will fill the gap at some point. I would love to have one in my area, (Montgomery, Alabama) so I didn't have to order for those weird parts that only they sell.
  • 6 Hide
    michaelahess , April 11, 2009 2:55 AM
    fancarolinaWhy not change the name to the TigerDirect Store, cash in on some brand regonition?



    Because anyone who knows on-line retailers will know not to buy anything associated with Tiger Direct, course they wouldn't buy anything at CompuUSA either :) 

    TigerDirect is the Best Buy of eTailers.
  • 1 Hide
    jivdis1x , April 11, 2009 3:22 AM
    The new compusa is great. Prices are very close to newegg. When newegg charge shipping it would be almost identical. The plus side to Compusa, no need to waiting for shipment. No RMA for returns.
  • 0 Hide
    dzeric , April 11, 2009 3:55 AM
    I really hope they come back to northern Virginia, they were my favorite brick-and-mortar electronics store. (however now that I've found newegg, I'm not positive I'd go back for everything.)
  • 1 Hide
    chief5286 , April 11, 2009 4:20 AM
    I'll say this much. I miss the CompUSA store that closed a year or two ago here in Pittsburgh. Especially when I was building my rig a short while back.

    The old Compusa had some good sales, but more than that, it was a place where I could go and know there was a decent chance they'd have computer parts, from name brand psus, to gpus, hdds, etc.
  • 1 Hide
    B-Unit , April 11, 2009 4:59 AM
    I miss CompUSA because it was the last bastion of a real PC games section. :'( 
  • 1 Hide
    megamanx00 , April 11, 2009 6:15 AM
    Yup, the old CompUSA had a good PC game section. I also liked the Circuit City PC game section as older games got discounted quickly ^_^. Anyway this isn't exactly new news since CompUSA has been operating for a while since Tiger Direct bought them out. They have a pretty good selection of parts and the prices aren't too bad. Newegg is generally cheaper, but if you need something that day then CompUSA is a good place to go now. I got 22" HP my monitor there because it was on sale ^_^.
  • 1 Hide
    falchard , April 11, 2009 7:30 AM
    Bad news for Best Buy if they can keep that pricing.
  • 0 Hide
    greliu , April 11, 2009 12:44 PM
    I actually have a compusa right up the street from my home in Fort Myers Florida. It's great, and their prices on many items only cost a couple bucks more at most when compared to newegg. As for best buy... they just suck..
  • 0 Hide
    blackened144 , April 11, 2009 1:00 PM
    The CompUSA in Deerfield Beach, FL was only closed for a few weeks. After it opened back up under SystemMax I happened to be looking to buy a new TV. I actually bought the Sceptre 46" 1080P for $800 from CompUSA but it looked like crap when i got it home. CompUSA let me return it at no cost and purchase another TV. I ended up getting the LG 42" Scarlett. For $380 less than everywhere else. And all the prices I saw there are indeed the same prices you will find online.
  • 0 Hide
    yoda8232 , April 11, 2009 4:18 PM
    Just dump CompUSA and make it TigerDirect.
  • 0 Hide
    deltatux , April 11, 2009 7:05 PM
    More competition the better.

    As for changing the name from CompUSA to TigerDirect, I think there's a reason behind that. The brand TigerDirect is viewed as a computer warehouse while CompUSA (there are none in Canada for obvious reasons) is viewed as a retail chain name.

    I usually never shop at TigerDirect, their prices are always higher than electronic stores and Canada Computers (the only brick and mortar computer-only chain I know of).
  • 0 Hide
    yoda8232 , April 11, 2009 9:01 PM
    deltatuxMore competition the better.As for changing the name from CompUSA to TigerDirect, I think there's a reason behind that. The brand TigerDirect is viewed as a computer warehouse while CompUSA (there are none in Canada for obvious reasons) is viewed as a retail chain name.I usually never shop at TigerDirect, their prices are always higher than electronic stores and Canada Computers (the only brick and mortar computer-only chain I know of).


    Yeah Canada Computers is really good, but prices aren't always better then go back and forth.
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