Saturday, March 10, 2007

Whither CompUSA – at least in Atlanta anyway

Sad tech news for all Atlanta techno-geeks. CompUSA has announced this week that they will close off over 100 stores, including ALL SIX stores in the Metro Atlanta area.

That’s a serious kick in the nads for people. I mean, normally you’d hear about two or three stores closing in a certain area, but not EVERY store in that chain. That’s a “save us from bankruptcy” move.

CompUSA has pinned the blame of this decision on extremely bad sales. Well I gotta call BS on that one!

It’s not bad SALES that is doing them in… it is bad SALES DECISIONS.

Let’s see if I can break this down for you so that even a corporate executive can understand what I’m trying to say here…

The name of the chain is CompUSA. It was set up to sell computers and computer-related items. That is its claim to fame. That is what got the techno-geeks and techno-newbies showing up. Once upon a time it was very good at doing just that.

It is NOT called CellphoneUSA.

It is NOT called DVD-PlayerUSA.

It is NOT called Home-Theatre-Surroundsound-SystemUSA.

It is NOT called Plasma-Screen-TVUSA.

It is NOT called TiVOUSA.

And yet all of these things started taking prominent shelf space in the local CompUSA stores, pushing the computer-related items to the far extreme walls. And by no coincidence, that’s also when they started experiencing the slacking sales.

Now I can understand the executive stupidity behind it. They feel that they needed to “compete” with Best Buy and with Fry’s Electronics and with all of the other electronics superstores that get into selling a wide variety of electronic goodies.

There is just one simple problem: the other stores didn’t pride themselves at ONLY being a computer superstore! It’s like walking into a KFC restaurant and seeing nothing but cheeseburgers and fish sandwiches and then having to ASK for fried chicken.

Krispy Kreme beats out Dunkin Doughnuts every time. Why? Because Krispy Kreme still sells doughnuts and the folks at Dunkin Doughnuts have to be reminded what the name of their franchise is. Or maybe they should just go ahead and change their name to Croissant Cuisine.

CompUSA dropped the ball when it came to selling computers. There is really no other way to put it. They dropped the ball and Best Buy and the other stores picked it up. Now Best Buy is making mad money and CompUSA is closing down stores just to stay solvent. If they want to get back what they lost, then they need to remember what the name of their store is and stick to it.