Wednesday, February 28, 2007, 07:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)
CompUSA to shutter 126 retail stores amid restructuring [u]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.
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