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Sixth Ave. Opening PC Departments

4/13/2010 01:58:28 PM Eastern

Springfield, N.J.
- Sixth Avenue Electronics, the New Jersey-based A/V specialty and custom-installation
chain, is adding PC departments to each of its 17 stores.

Following a recent expansion that
extended its trading area from Delaware to Long Island, N.Y., the family-run
business will soon begin rolling out dedicated, 2,000-square-foot PC
departments system-wide.

The addition, which joins the
company's coming entry into major appliances and year-round gaming, is made
possible by a recently installed management software system from Germany's SAP
AG, which is streamlining and standardizing virtually every element of the
chain's operations from order entry, sales compensation and warranty
commission, to rebate-tracking, vendor invoicing and demand-planning.

The PC assortment will build upon Sixth Avenue's
current netbook offering from Asus and Hewlett-Packard by expanding the brand
selection and adding laptops, peripherals and accessories.

Operations VP Tom Galanis
acknowledged that PCs are a traditionally low-margin category, but, like the
addition of appliances, was prompted by customer demand.

"It's an extension of our home-automation
business," Galanis told TWICE. "People want a complete solution, and we don't
want to send our customers to Best Buy for a laptop or a router."

Gaming, which had been a seasonal
category for the company, will get about 1,000 square feet of permanent space
adjacent to the computer department. Sixth
Avenue will carry consoles and software for the
three major gaming platforms, which provides "a huge opportunity" to cross-sell
3D TVs and surround-sound systems, Galanis said.

On the appliance front, the dealer
plans to offer mid- to premium-priced majaps from "major brands," along with a
smattering of luxury products, starting at its newest store in Concord Pike, Del. All will be presented
within lifestyle vignettes under the stewardship of former Best Buy merchant
Tom Cook, and will be supported by Sixth
Avenue's installation and architectural design
services.

Like PCs, appliances are a natural
extension of the company's in-home services, Galanis said, and are being added
by popular request. "We do our own CEDIA-certified custom installation and
automation, have our own design center and construction company, and have 40
trucks on the road. After we've proven ourselves in a customer's home, they'll
ask, ‘Can you get us appliances too?' "

"It's all about taking care of the
customer," he said, and not, as a reporter suggested, responding to
encroachments from New York
metro-area powerhouse P.C. Richard & Son, and multiregional player hhgregg.
"We don't react to others," he stated. "This is a free country built on
competition, and everybody's welcome to compete. We just stay focused on our
customers."

The company may consider adding the
word "Appliances" to its name, but remains fiercely committed to its A/V-only
buying group, the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group), Galanis said.

The new categories can be
accommodated by Sixth
Avenue's latest 40,000-square-foot
stores, while older locations will reallocate space from DLP TVs and add
extensions where necessary.

Galanis added that business is
beginning to pick up with the improving economy, and that the company has begun
work on its 18th store, located in Pennsylvania.

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