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CompUSA’s Weiss Sees CE, IT Mix

CompUSA’s newly named president/CEO Tony Weiss said he will continue to focus on the small business channel and to re-merchandise the chain’s A/V mix, as CE and IT products and services increasingly converge.

Small business represents a “unique and growing channel,” Weiss told TWICE, which CompUSA is addressing with both products and IT services.

On the CE side, the PC specialty chain, privately held by Mexico’s Grupo Carso, is expanding its A/V assortment with more brands and models, and is rolling out a new store format to house it. The new design features a significantly larger A/V area, taken from under-utilized backroom space. About 100 of CompUSA’s 240 stores will be converted to the new format this year.

The first two retrofits were unveiled last week in Florida, with home entertainment sections that were expanded from 800 square feet to upwards of 3,200 square feet, and a brand array that includes Bose, Denon, Klipsch, Niles, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Samsung and Sharp.

Weiss noted that PC-related sales for the industry and for CompUSA are “softer than we’d like” year-to-date due to price compression, but that the company is anticipating strong back-to-school business and an even more robust first half in 2007 after Microsoft releases its new Vista operating system.

“We are uniquely positioning ourselves to provide the best blend of technology products and services our customers want,” Weiss said, “and I’m looking forward to leading our great team through the challenges of this year and beyond.”

Weiss, formerly COO/president of CompUSA stores, succeeded Larry Mondry, who left the company earlier this month after 16 years to “focus his time and energy on private equity ventures,” the company said. Mondry will remain available to council Weiss during the transition.

“Larry has been a terrific asset to CompUSA,” Weiss said in a statement. “His leadership and expertise in our business have brought us to where we are today, and we’re all thankful.”

Weiss is an 18-year veteran of CompUSA who has held various operational, merchandising and sales management roles, including general merchandising manager.