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CE Retailers In Growth Mode


While many CE dealers
were retrenching last winter, others
were clearly in expansion mode.

P.C Richard said in February it
would open its first Philadelphiaarea
stores this year and
could add upwards of five
Connecticut locations as part
of a planned build-out that
could extend its reach from
Delaware to Massachusetts.
Gregg Richard, president of
the nation’s largest familyowned
CE and appliance
chain, said it accelerated its
Connecticut timetable following
the departure of regional
retailer Bernie’s.

Meanwhile, Linder’s Furniture,
the Southern California home furnishings
and consumer electronics
chain, opened its first superstore in
February as part of a major expansion
planned for this year, and a revitalized
Ritz & Wolf Camera & Image
continued to re-opened shuttered
stores, added Verizon Wireless to
an expanded CE offering, and secured
a $25 million revolving credit
facility to help refinance existing
debt and fuel future growth.

Elsewhere, Paul’s TV was expanding
its footprint exponentially
with the opening of in-store shops at
31 Art Van furniture stores throughout
Michigan; Nebraska Furniture
Mart cut the ribbon on a completely
remodeled 51,000-square-foot
CE department at its Kansas City
store; and Target began beefing up
its CE business with the launch of
its first store-based home services
offering and announced plans for
an upgrade of electronics departments
in select stores.

Similarly, the Nationwide Marketing
Group reported at its bi-annual buying
show and conference that
dealers are using the recession
to their advantage by opening
new stores and leveraging the
buying group’s initiatives to position
themselves for the eventual
economic recovery.

“This is a great time to expand,”
said executive VP
Robert Weisner. “Dealers are
picking up real estate from
closed chains and are buying
out competitors.”

Those acquired included Flanner’s
Home Entertainment, which
was bought out by Colder’s in July.
But others, including iconic regional
chains Bernie’s, Ken Crane’s and
MyerEmco, would shut their doors
for good.