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Tweeter Shifts Execs As Comp Sales Fall In Q2

Tweeter Home Entertainment Group reported record revenue but falling comparable store sales for its second fiscal quarter ended March 31.

The specialty A/V chain has also revamped its management structure, decentralizing responsibilities and giving top executives from its Sound Advice subsidiary a larger role in Tweeter’s national operations.

Benefiting from an aggressive acquisition strategy, the company’s total sales grew 57.5 percent to $186 million, while same store sales slipped 6.7 percent for the period. The comp figures do not include those of Sound Advice, down 3.0 percent; Showcase Home Entertainment, down 27.3 percent; Big Screen City, down 23.9 percent; Audio Video Systems, up 7.3 percent; and Hillcrest, up 1.9 percent.

President/CEO Jeff Stone said that after experiencing negative comps of 8.5 percent for January and February, the company turned a corner in March as traffic, in-stock positions and same-store sales improved. “We hope our worst months are behind us,” he said.

According to chief financial officer Joe McGuire, flat-panel plasma and LCD TVs continue to be the fastest growing category for the company, following a 167-percent hike in dollar volume and a 300-percent gain in unit sales for the quarter. He added that Tweeter had “finally returned to a solid in-stock position” in flat panels in March, after short vendor supplies kept cupboards bare for much of the holiday selling season through February.

On the flow chart front, Sound Advice president Peter Beshouri will now head up all Tweeter sales, training and store design functions in addition to running the Dania Beach, Fla.-based chain. Also, Sound Advice senior VP Michael Blumberg will spend about one week each month at corporate headquarters assisting Stone in managing Tweeter’s purchasing department.

Bernie Sapienza, formerly VP purchasing, was named VP store merchandising, focusing on new store design, store opening execution and existing store rework, reporting to Beshouri.

Noah Herschman, formerly VP/marketing, was named VP video merchandising, reporting to Stone.

Dave Maulin, formerly director of merchandising, was named director of audio merchandising, and Dan Jeancola, VP/12-volt for Sound Advice, will assume national responsibility for the category.

In a letter to vendors, Stone explained that “Our challenge as we continue to grow is to put the right people in the right places to run a multibillion company.”

The organizational changes went into effect April 1, and follow the March 4 resignation of Shelley Miller, who had served as senior VP of marketing, purchasing and custom install. — Additional reporting by Joseph Palenchar