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CompUSA, Good Guys Consolidate

CompUSA is consolidating the buying, marketing and advertising functions of its Good Guys subsidiary, and will move those operations to CompUSA headquarters here by Sept. 1.

Under the plan, Good Guys’ buying team will also assume responsibility for certain elements of CompUSA’s expanded home entertainment offering, which was rolled out last year via 183 in-store A/V shops. CompUSA’s current A/V merchants will be reassigned to other product categories.

According to CompUSA’s chief operating officer Tony Weiss, the chains are “leveraging synergies and expertise between the two organizations where it makes sense.” Examples include getting “better leverage” on marketing and advertising expenditures, and Good Guys’ utilization of its parent’s PC and IT proficiency in adding those categories and services to its assortment.

The buying reorganization also calls for an expansion of merchandising personnel as the chains break out core areas of responsibility, such as Apple, into sub-categories, such as Apple notebooks, Weiss explained.

He also stressed that despite the relocation, Good Guys will continue to maintain its own merchandising and marketing functions, as the companies “absolutely want a separate brand and identity” for the West Coast A/V specialty chain. The business, which was acquired in December for $55 million, is run by CompUSA veteran Rick Fountain. Fountain was named chief operating officer of Good Guys Stores last January, and added the title of president after his predecessor Cathy Stauffer joined Gateway in May. Fountain reports directly to Weiss.

Good Guys will maintain its former headquarters offices in Alameda, Calif., to house a skeleton crew of IT and service personnel.

Going forward, CompUSA plans to retrofit all 71 Good Guys locations between now and the holidays with varying degrees of renovations. According to Weiss, the stores will receive some additional IT-type products, based on the success of Good Guys’ prototype store in Reno, Nev. “We’re seeing a nice lift in those categories,” he said.

Other changes include bringing core products such as flat-panel displays to the front of the stores and creating a different “corral” in the center of the floor that highlights MP3, digital imaging and other higher volume categories.