Thursday, November 22, 2007


(AP) ― The start of the holiday shopping season crept earlier into Thursday as retailers lured shoppers to stores and online ahead of the traditional Black Friday kick-off.

For the second year in a row, CompUSA Inc. opened its doors on Thanksgiving, with stores scheduled to open at 9 p.m., except in Massachusetts where local laws preclude holiday hours. CompUSA also added an extra incentive for consumers this year by providing pumpkin pie for those in line.

Iconic toy store FAO Schwarz ― with locations in New York, Chicago and Las Vegas ― opened its doors on the holiday as well. Store hours for the three locations were 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
While many Hoosiers stuffed themselves with second and third helpings of turkey and stuffing, others stuffed their shopping carts full of deals on Thanksgiving Day.

Several major retailers, including Kmart, CompUSA and Meijer, were open on Thanksgiving, and some of them had sneak previews of Black Friday shopping deals to lure people inside.

Shopping on Thanksgiving comes natural for die-hard bargain shoppers, 6News' Trisha Shepherd reported.

"We figured there wouldn't be anyone else out shopping, and we pretty much hit the nail on the head," said Rebecca Thompson. "The parking lot was almost empty."

It was a little more hectic at the Meijer store on Southport Road. Manager Spencer Harris said people lined up as early as 4 a.m. for special deals the retailer planned only for Thanksgiving.

"The toy department was completely mobbed. You couldn't get within 10 feet of the toy department," Harris said.

Meijer and Kmart have made their own tradition of staying open on Thanksgiving, but shoppers this year found that both had upped the ante a bit with the bargains they were offering, particularly on GPS systems and televisions.

Some of the shoppers said they were out Thursday so they wouldn't have to be out to battle the crowds on Black Friday, traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Others told 6News that Thanksgiving shopping was just the appetizer to an all-out feast of deal hunting on Friday.

"My wife is sending me at 4 in the morning, probably 3, to come look for a Nintendo Wii," said Skip Glander.

Others had their two-day shopping plan mapped out in advance.

"Tomorrow is more shopping for myself. Today is more shopping for others, if I can admit that," Thompson said.

Some Thanksgiving shoppers said they are excited in anticipation of the chaos Black Friday brings.

"I'm ready to be out in the crowds, pushing and shoving to get the good deals," said Amanda Spangler.

Most retailers stay closed on Thanksgiving, gearing up for a huge day on Friday, but stores that were open on Thanksgiving said they hope the day would give them a jumpstart for what is expected to be a sluggish holiday shopping season.

"We're always thankful for the customers shopping our store and creating that excitement," Harris said. "We want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving."

The online companion to some brick-and-mortar stores that were closed Thursday offered many of the Black Friday bargains on the Internet a day early.

Those stores, such as Circuit City, Fry's and Staples, saw brisk web traffic throughout the day.J. - Retail stores in New Jersey and across the country are hoping that economic worries won't keep prospective shoppers away when the holiday shopping season has its traditional start.

Some store chains haven't even been waiting for Friday.

For the second year in a row, CompUSA is keeping stores open on Thanksgiving. The CompUSA Superstore in Mount Laurel is scheduled to open at 9 p.m.

Other store chains, such as Wayne-based Toys "R" Us, have online deals to elicit some purchases over the Web before Black Friday shopping.

The moves come amid worries that a national housing slump and credit crunch will make shoppers extra wary over holiday spending.

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CompUSA Inc.

Type Private
Founded 1984 (Addison, Texas)
Headquarters Addison, Texas
Key people Carlos Slim, Owner
Roman Ross, CEO
Gabriela Villalobos, CFO, EVP, Sales and Operations
Industry Retail
Products Electronics
Revenue US$4.7 billion
Employees 14,000

CompUSA, Inc. is a retailer and reseller of consumer electronics, technology products and computer services. CompUSA serves consumer retail, small-to-medium businesses, corporate, government and education customers. Founded in 1983 and based in Addison, Texas (a northern suburb of Dallas), CompUSA currently operates 103 stores in markets across the United States and Puerto Rico.

CompUSA, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. Commercial Corp S.A.B. de C.V.[1], which is indirectly controlled by a common shareholder, Carlos Slim. U.S. Commercial trades on Bolsa Mexicana de Valores (Mexican Stock Exchange) as USCOMBI.

CompUSA's retail Web site offers an assortment of over 19,000 products and the ability to schedule technology services and training sessions. Businesses may order from a catalog containing more than 573,000 products as well as select from over 133,700 online products.

CompUSA's sales team now works under a combination of hourly pay and commission.

Contents [hide]
1 History
1.1 The CompUSA Network
2 Controversies
2.1 Product rebate offers
3 CompUSA-owned brands
4 Slogans
4.1 Puerto Rico slogans
5 Closings
6 References
7 External links

[edit] History
1984 - Founded as Soft Warehouse in Addison, Texas, selling direct to business customers.
1985 - Opened first retail store.
1988 - Opened first Southern California stores.
1988 - Opened first Computer Superstore.
1991 - Changed name to CompUSA.
1993 - Began offering technical services at customer locations.
1996 - Launched retail sales on
1997 - Filed for bankruptcy
1998 - Acquired Tandy's Computer City subsidiary.
2000 - Became privately-held company under Mexican retail company, Grupo Sanborns.
2003 - Acquired Good Guys.[2]
2005 - Converted three CompUSA stores and 13 Good Guys stores into "megastores." Closed all 46 Good Guys locations. Began marketing in California and Hawaii as "CompUSA with Good Guys Inside" (in response to Best Buy's marketing campaign "with Magnolia Inside").
2006 - Announced the closing of 15 stores across the United States including several locations in California; these stores are being used to liquidate discontinued items from other stores across the nation until the end of October. Roman Ross, a former Phillip Morris executive, replaced Tony Weiss as president and CEO after only four months in office. In November 2006, CompUSA launched their new "Home Entertainment" Rollout in 40 of its stores (including Puerto Rico), who now sell a variety of High Definition Televisions and Home Theater equipment. Roman Ross claims that Home Entertainment is one of his chief focuses as the new CEO.[3] Press reported that CompUSA's Mexican parent Grupo Carso was interested in putting CompUSA up for sale.[4]
2007 - Announces the closing and liquidation of 126 stores due to "..need to close and sell stores with low performance or non strategic, old store layouts and locations faced with market saturation" Roman Ross CEO. [5]. The realignment includes a $440,000,000 cash infusion, store closures, major expense reductions and a corporate restructuring.
2007, May 14 - CompUSA ends the liquidation sale and finalizes the 126 store closures.
2007, May 27 - Annual General Manager Meeting brings talks of 56 store closings to the table, the corporate officers present refuted the claim.
2007, August through December - Gabriela Villalobos, EVP, makes her stops through all of the 103 operational stores to evaluate the functionality of each since the store closures.

[edit] The CompUSA Network
In 2005, CompUSA started a customer loyalty program called The CompUSA Network. For every dollar spent at any CompUSA store, the customer received 13 points. Rewards included an Epson photo printer and a Canon Digital Rebel SLR digital camera. However, in June 2006, sales of The CompUSA Network membership cards were suspended pending further investigation onto the operation's effect on customer retention and "program awareness among low-visit customers."

On August 24, 2006, CompUSA announced the end of the Network Reward program. All customers were notified of this and issued coupons for the remaining reward value, as well as their original purchase price. They were also offered a refund of the original purchase price in the original form of payment, however this option removed any remaining reward points.

[edit] Controversies

[edit] Product rebate offers
On March 11, 2005, the Federal Trade Commission settled charges against CompUSA on the issue of rebate problems. The FTC alleged that CompUSA engaged in deceptive and unfair practices relating to rebate offers made for both its own branded products and QPS products. CompUSA paid no additional fine and only had to pay out any cash rebates that it owed, unless it had substantiation for errorenous rebate claim.[6]

[edit] CompUSA-owned brands
Norwood Micro
Master Power

[edit] Slogans
"The Computer Superstore." (1997-May 2003)
"Where America Buys Technology." (May 2003-July 2005)
"We got it. We get it." (July 2005-Present)

[edit] Puerto Rico slogans
"Where Puerto Rico Buys Technology." (May 2003-July 2005)
"Lo Tenemos. Lo Entendemos." (Translation: "We have it. We understand it," essentially a Spanish translation of the current US slogan.) (July 2005-Present)

[edit] Closings
On or immediately before February 28th, 2007, CompUSA retained the services of Gordon Brothers, a company that specializes in liquidation, for the purposes of closing 126 stores nationwide.[7] The closing locations were chosen based upon their overall performance, profitability, and proximity to more successful competitors such as Best Buy, Fry's and Circuit City. Among the CompUSA stores that were liquidated, were every Long Island location, every store in New Jersey (except the Mount Laurel store), all of the stores in the Chicago area (downtown Chicago, Schaumburg, and Skokie), all Minnesota locations, two Florida locations (including one of the two Miami locations), all locations in Missouri, over two-thirds of stores in California, including all stores in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas (except Santa Barbara), all stores in Michigan (except the Lansing Superstore), all stores in the Washington DC area (except Columbia, MD), all the stores in Georgia (except the Augusta, GA Superstore), stores in the Philadelphia Area, all stores in Western Washington, all stores in Phoenix, the Columbus, Ohio location, the Milwaukee area store in Brookfield, and a majority of stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston, Texas area.

During the liquidation process, the stores typically offered discounts starting at 5 percent to 30 percent off of retail prices, ending at up to 90 to 95 percent. The liquidation process was completed on May 14th, 2007, and all stores were completely shuttered by the following Friday. At the time of the closings, there were internal rumors circulating that additional stores would possibly face closure.

CompUSA has also failed to negotiate an early terminations for the leases of some of the closed locations. One such store in Woodbury, MN, has an eviction notice posted on the front doors, stating the rent for Sept 2007 ($39,700) was not paid to buildings owner, Robert Muir Company. [8][verification needed] It also claimed attempts to contact CompUSA Inc. were not answered. The building is leased through July 2011. The terms of the lease include a full buyout upon eviction or cancellation, meaning CompUSA will be forced to payout nearly $1.8 million to buyout of the lease. [9][verification needed]

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