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Tweeter Opening New Store, Testing Prototype

3/19/2008 03:11:00 PM Eastern

Canton, Mass. — Tweeter Opco, formerly Tweeter Newco, is opening its first new store since its acquisition last summer by Schultze Asset Management, and will test a new store format in Boston.

The new store, set to open in early April, will be a 6,000-square-foot “Playground” showroom in Chicago’s Lincoln Park district. The Playground format showcases A/V products and whole-house systems within home-like vignettes, and has been “way outperforming” older stores on a range of performance metrics, Tweeter president/CEO George Granoff told TWICE.

The Lincoln Park location will be Tweeter’s sixth such showroom, and replaces within the Chicago market a mall-based store overlooking Michigan Avenue whose lease was rejected.

The new prototype store, slated to open for testing in mid-April, is a retrofit of an existing Tweeter location near company headquarters in Boston. “It’s quite a step forward,” Granoff said.

Granoff noted that the cost of remodeling existing stores is comparable to that of opening new ones. “Converting a store to the new format costs $800,000,” he said, “and I don’t have $75 million.”

The company currently operates 95 locations around the country.

Granoff, a former president/COO of the Ames and Bradlees discount chains, said Tweeter had been keeping a low profile while he learned the lay of the land. He succeeded Joe McGuire last August following the company’s acquisition by Schultze, a Purchase, N.Y.-based investment group, for $38 million in a bankruptcy auction.