Retail Briefs

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Wolf Bares Buyout Plans

ALPHARETTA, GA. — Wolf Camera said it would close 14 stores following its planned acquisition by Ritz Camera Centers later this month. According to the ailing retailer's filings with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, eight of the units are located in the Baltimore/Washington area, which is Ritz Camera's home turf. The other six stores are in Hawaii, San Diego, Los Angeles and New Orleans. Wolf also outlined its severance plans for corporate employees who will be cut after the merger, including its chief operating officer, members of the executive committee, plus senior VPs and VP-level personnel. Ritz is paying $84.7 million for the bankrupt chain, although competing bids were being accepted at press time.

Warrantech Settles AIG Suit

EULESS, TEXAS — Extended service provider Warrantech has settled a nearly two-year-old lawsuit brought by American International Group (AIG) and Service Guard Insurance Agency. AIG had been the original insurance carrier for Warrantech, and AIG senior executive Evan Greenberg had been a partner in the business. While Warrantech didn't disclose the nature of the litigation in its settlement announcement, the suit reportedly stemmed from a change in AIG's claims handling process that resulted in excessive payouts by Warrantech. Although the agreement stipulates that specific terms of the settlement remain confidential, Warrantech chairman/CEO Joel San Antonio said. "We are extremely pleased that the parties were able to resolve their differences in a mutually satisfactory manner with no adverse financial impact to the company."

Elite Buys ComputerWare

CUPERTINO, CALIF. — Elite Computers & Software, an Apple specialty store located opposite Apple headquarters, here, has purchased the rights to the name, certain trademarks and assets of ComputerWare, the defunct Apple dealer. According to Elite president/

CEO Thomas Armes, ComputerWare was the largest Macintosh specialty chain in the nation, with 10 stores in the San Francisco Bay area. The retailer closed shop earlier this year. "ComputerWare had been around for many years and was a valued name with a unique place in the Macintosh community," Armes said. In it's first move, Elite will open three ComuterWare locations using the combined store brands.

NARDA Business Institute Tackles Tough Retail Scene

LOMBARD, ILL. — "Prospering in Turbulent Times" will be the theme of the upcoming 46th annual North American Retail Dealers Association (NARDA) Institute of Business Management. The event, slated for Oct. 12-15 at the Xerox Conference Center in Leesburg, Va., will feature some 41 sessions. Topics will include how some retailers are succeeding despite the economic slowdown; how to find customers for high-margin products; why this is the best time to be in product service; and how to find cash for reinvestment. "When retailers are facing economic uncertainty, as we are today, it's important that we not react by cutting expenses that will cut customer service and floor traffic," observed NARDA president Robert Cremer, who also heads Aronson Furniture, Appliances and Electronics in Chicago. "This could cause our companies to fall further behind when the economy starts to grow again." Registration is available at


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