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Best Of Times, Worst Of Times For CE Dealers

NEW YORK — Last year was truly
a tale of two cities for CE dealers, given
the topsy-turvy sales results on the
TWICE Top 100.

Top earners on the retail rankings include
Paul’s TV (No. 70 on the charts),
which was up a whopping 75 percent in
CE sales; (No. 8), which
increased CE revenue by 40 percent;
Seventh Avenue (No. 87), ahead 31
percent; Micro Center (No. 17), up 25
percent; and Systemax (No. 13), up by
nearly 17 percent.

Conversely, companies taking it on the
chin last year included Magnolia Audio
Video (No. 77), down 46 percent;
Ritz Camera (No. 37), off by 42 percent;
Beach Trading Company (No. 45)
and Game Crazy (No. 41), each down 25
percent; and BrandsMart USA (No. 30),
down 24 percent.

On the plus side,

Paul’s TV

, the Southern
California A/V specialty dealer,
found new life inside furniture stores,
where it’s busy opening up 3,000-squarefoot
boutique shops as fast as it can build
and supply them.


continues to hone its winning
formula of low prices, efficient service, a
virtually limitless assortment, and shopat-
home convenience, which proved to be
an irresistible combination during the
economic downturn.

Seventh Avenue

, a purveyor of lowpriced,
commodity-oriented CE, also
benefitted from the austere economic
times, as well as its linkage to recently relaunched
sister site Montgomery Ward
(which is connected to the late, great department
store chain in name only).

Micro Center

, the nation’s third-largest
computer specialty chain behind Apple
and CompUSA, opened its 22nd location
last year and continues to reap the
benefits of a customer-centric strategy,
strong demand for netbooks, and an updated
configuration within its stores.



, the numbers reflect last
year’s resurrection of Circuit
and the brick-and-mortar expansion of a
re-engineered CompUSA.

Among the biggest losers,


was relieved of its wholly owned subsidiary
status last year — along with its
management, headquarters, distribution
center and more than half its stores
— after corporate parent Best Buy lost
patience with its consecutive quarterly
comp-sale declines.


was bought out of bankruptcy last
year by past and present principal David
Ritz after shutting hundreds of stores and remerchandising the imaging assortment.

Internet retailer

Beach Trading

’s sales
continued to fall back to earth in 2009
following several years of explosive growth
and mounting e-commerce competition,

Game Crazy

’s parent Music Gallery
finally pulled the plug on the moneylosing
operation after entering Chapter
11 twice in three years. Meanwhile, Florida-

BrandsMart USA

continued to
slog it out in one of the country’s most depressed
housing markets.

Paul’s TV scored the largest sales gains
by building CE shops in furniture stores.