Posted on January 7, 2008,

Systemax to Save CompUSA?


Systemax, Inc. (NYSE Symbol: SYX) is purportedly in negotiations to purchase the CompUSA brand and possibly many of its remaining assets. If things pan out, Systemax will not only acquire the CompUSA brand, but also its trademarks, e-commerce business and as many as 16 retail stores. This news may come as a surprise to many that had already passed off the ailing CompUSA as dead. Systemax could very well be the savior of the CompUSA namesake.

According to Reuters, the deal could reach as high as $30 million – depending largely on which locations Systemax decides to take over.

“We believe the value of the CompUSA brand remains very high,” Systemax Chief Executive Richard Leeds said in a statement. “We view this acquisition as a strong complementary business to our TigerDirect operation.”

Subsidiaries and divisions of Systemax, Inc. include SystemaxPC, Tiger Direct, Global Industrial, Misco, Infotel, Global Computer Supplies, OnRebate, Hellcat, and Ultra.

With such a strong background in custom PC configurations and component sales, perhaps Systemax will succeed where CompUSA failed – making CompUSA into the definitive walk-in computer store.

Being an avid PC hardware geek, I find myself often avoiding such competitors as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, & Circuit City simply because they treat computer hardware (& often software) as niche. I’ve honestly found more frustration and annoyance when shopping at such locations in comparison to dedicated stores such as CompUSA. When I heard news that a nearby CompUSA location was preparing for closeout, I had dread the thought of relegating my PC related purchases to strictly online. It’s not that online stores are bad in any way. Being able to physically see a product prior to purchase always has its advantages. Plus, returning a defective product locally is generally less painful than the typical online RMA process.

Here’s hoping that my CompUSA location is on Systemax’s target list. Yes, I’m selfish that way.

Via Reuters

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4 Comments on Systemax to Save CompUSA?


On January 7, 2008 at 9:56 am

I hadn’t been into a CompUSA in about four years until recently when I saw the big “Going out of Business” signs. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but figured what the heck, maybe I could find a deal. Almost everything in the store was 10% off. Big whoop. I can get a better deal from and still have the option to return it. I got the feeling they weren’t really taking this “going out of business” thing seriously anyway, so this isn’t a big surprise.

As for the shopping experience, the reason I hadn’t been into a CompUSA in years was because I found they didn’t know any more than the guys at Fry’s or Circuit City. That, and they killed off the Good Guys stores years ago.


On January 8, 2008 at 5:04 am

I have a Fry’s Electronics near my house here. I get all my parts there. They have frikkin (almost) everything you can think of.
Who cares about what the sales associates know? You’ll never be satisfied if you judge the quality of a store by the associates knowledge. Can’t have a sales rep hold your hand all the time. Take the time to research products on your own.


On January 8, 2008 at 9:32 am


I don’t need anyone holding my hand. I do hours of research before I go into any store. However, I happen to have a real job, and can’t spend every waking moment doing research. The point is that I shouldn’t have to. I’ve been in retail, and I took pride in knowing the products I represented. These days if you ask a question they just shrug or read what’s on the back of the box. Your attitude is part of the reason why they are the way they are. How else should I judge the quality of a store if not by the knowledge of the people who work there? Price and selection are part of the equation, but a sales staff I can trust is far more important.


On January 8, 2008 at 9:35 am

P.S. If all I was concerned about is price and selection, I can get much better deals on-line. I go to a B&M because I want the sales support that they are supposed to provide.