From TWICE’s 2017 Top 100 Consumer Electronics Retailers Report: The Top 15 Alan Wolf ⋅ May 30, 2017 No. 3, Walmart: Long viewed as a Death Star by independent and specialty tech retailers, the evil Emperor’s crown has since been passed to Amazon. Our Take: The Bentonville bunch is still struggling to bridge the mass/class divide in CE, but continues to dominate with its fearsome 4,600-store sell-through. No. 4, Apple Stores: While its sales per square foot remain among the highest in retail, recent moves to enhance the in-store experience, plus a rare single-digit decline on the Top 100, suggest that this apple may have worms. Our Take: The downturn could be attributed to the current mid-phone cycle; we’ll know more after the much-anticipated iPhone 8 is released this fall. No. 6, Target: The No. 2 discount chain was late to the party with flat-panel TV, and is making amends with early and aggressive IoT forays using dedicated connected-home displays. Our Take: Tech remains a step-child to Target’s core home and apparel categories, and new store formats have yet to compensate for a digital business that still hasn’t found its footing. No. 8, Newegg: Newegg remains the leading tech-specialty e-tailer with a heavy emphasis on PC components and peripherals, and a dedicated DIY following. Our Take: Man cannot live by motherboards alone, and Newegg has accordingly diversified into the B-to-B and educational channels — and ancillary home, healthcare and even apparel and toy categories — with mixed success. No. 9, Micro Center: Talk about an anachronism. This regional PC specialty chain hearkens back to a time when the marketplace could support a CompUSA, yet continues to thrive amid universal availability of laptops. Our Take: Service remains the chain’s not-so-secret sauce, to be supplemented with a greater A/V assortment after joining the ProSource buying group. No. 10, Dell: Michael Dell’s namesake business remains the largest direct-to-consumer seller of PCs and peripherals. Our Take: Expert channel management has helped the company maintain healthy retail relationships with mass merchants like Walmart and Costco, while its main thrust remains enterprise-level solutions. No. 11, Sam’s Club: The No. 2 warehouse club skews its assortment toward a higher-income consumer than its sister chain Walmart, and tends to have a deeper selection than archrival Costco. Our Take: Sam’s Club may still be finding its CE footing after moving the department’s longtime tech chief into a new corporate role. No. 12, Sears: Consumer electronics are in a tailspin at Sears, which is attempting to transition the category into a connected-home services business. Our Take: Sears Holdings regularly issues two sets of comp sales with its earnings reports — with and without CE. ’Nuff said. No. 13, Office Depot: With its merger plans dashed by federal regulators, the No. 2 office-supply chain, which itself absorbed No. 3 OfficeMax, now must go it alone sans Staples. Our Take: Sadly for both chains, the acquisition by Staples might have been given a green light by the current anti-regulation administration. No. 14, Staples: The No. 1 office supply chain made a strong argument for channel consolidation, now that it must vie for ink and paperclip sales with Amazon and other mass merchants. Our Take: After forays into e-readers, mobile phones and smart products, Staples is refocusing on commercial sales opportunities. No. 15, Fry’s: The closely held company continues to cater to the build-your-own PC enthusiast, albeit within cavernous big-box showrooms. Our Take: Fry’s offers an oddball mix of motherboards, meals, major appliances and everything in between, which continues to make it a destination for consumers of all ilk. SubscribeFor more stories like this, and to keep up to date with all our market leading news, features and analysis, sign up to our newsletter here.