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Good Guys Talks Post-Merger Plans

In the wake of its acquisition in December by CompUSA and consequent management shakeup last month (see TWICE, Jan. 19, p. 6), Good Guys has begun to embark on an ambitious new convergence strategy that could eventually take the company national.

Newly named president Cathy Stauffer envisions a re-merchandised and reinvigorated Good Guys that would build on its own A/V expertise by playing off the service and PC strengths of its new corporate parent to become a national player.

“There are opportunities for expansion,” Stauffer told TWICE. “While we have no plans for more stores this year, we could eventually be multi-regional or national. But first we have to shine here.”

One of her first priorities is to increase Good Guys’ assortment by adding new brands to current categories and bringing in new PC-centric products, courtesy of the deep pockets and vast resources of CompUSA and Mexican owners Grupo Sanborns.

“Good Guys has a solid brand, a great position in the marketplace and terrific vendor connections,” Stauffer said. “But we were financially constrained. Now our merchants,” led by VP/merchandising and GMM Mike Mohan, “have the resources behind them.”

The most immediate and noticeable change is the addition of Samsung to the video vendor roster. The brand first appeared in some 30 stores last month and a system-wide rollout should be completed by May, making Good Guys its largest West Coast dealer.

At the same time, the company is leveraging CompUSA’s IT expertise — and its own knack for demonstration, presentation and solution selling — to begin introducing multimedia and mobile computing products that keep consumers connected both inside and outside the home.

“People want to network, they want connectivity,” Stauffer noted. “They want to move content from the house to the car or office. If you have a PC with music, photos and videos, we want to be able to say, ‘Here’s how you watch it in your living room.’ We want to be able to do the whole solution. But first we want to learn what works.”

Good Guys has already begun testing the convergence waters in its Reno, Nev., store, where it recently introduced 33 new SKUs including PDAs. The results, said Stauffer, are promising: without any advertising promoting the new mix, comparable store sales climbed 4 percent to 5 percent in a matter of days.