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Wattles’ Firm Issues Layoff Of 45 Workers

Thornton, Colo. — Wattles Capital Management (WCM), whose chairman/CEO is Mark Wattles, owner of Ultimate Electronics and an activist investor in Circuit City, laid off 45 employees, here.

The employees work at the headquarters of WCM, which also houses Ultimate’s headquarters store.

Wattles told TWICE the layoff happened earlier this week due to general economic conditions and involved employees who work at WCM and have some responsibilities that “overlap” with Ultimate Electronics operations.

He said the layoff is by no means an indication of any trouble at Ultimate Electronics. “We are probably the only [CE] retailer with positive year-on-year comp sales. Our comp-store sales have been up last quarter, in September and in October.”

Wattles said that during the fourth quarter Ultimate will be “focusing on our strength, which is audio/video” but does not mean it is discontinuing its white-goods effort, which was originally announced in September 2007.

“We have remodeled four stores” with major appliances and has three more in the process of being converted, Wattles said.

Ultimate operates 32 stores in Colorado and in several Western and Midwestern states. It had annual CE sales of $387 million during calendar year 2007 and ranks 36th in the TWICE Top 100 CE Retailers Report.