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Tweeter Opening Five New Concept Stores

New York — Tweeter Home Entertainment Group plans to open five concept stores this year and will add elements of the new format to three existing locations.

The prototypes, which feature a concierge desk, functional vignettes, a design center and other interactive elements to help demonstrate whole-home solutions, represent a radical departure from Tweeter’s standard retail box. Tweeter opened its first concept store in Las Vegas during the 2005 International CES and a second prototype in Oakbrook, Ill., in March.

The next opening is set for June 30 in Burlington, Mass., to be followed by a fourth location, in Atlanta’s Buckhead district, on Aug. 25.

Tweeter also plans to open concept stores in Chula Vista, Calif.; East Plano, Texas; and the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Nev.

In addition, elements of the concept stores will be added to existing Tweeter locations in Boca Raton, Fla.; Cool Springs, Tenn.; and Tysons Corner, Va., in the coming weeks, as the company evaluates a cost-effective way to roll out the new format. A Tweeter store in Mission Viejo, Calif., was already retrofitted on May 17.

Speaking at a PiperJaffray analyst conference here yesterday, president/CEO Joe McGuire noted that the concepts stores have “much higher gross margins” and higher labor penetration as a percent of sales than any other stores in the chain. “We’re pretty encouraged,” he said.