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By | Drew Cullen 10th December 2007 16:54

CompUSA goes titsup

'Orderly wind-down'

CompUSA has thrown in the towel on the hypercompetive US electronics retailing scene.

The store giant has sold itself for an undisclosed amount to Gordon Brothers, a Boston-based restructuring specialist, which will close its 103 retail stores in an "orderly wind-down". The number of expected job cuts has not been disclosed, at time of writing.

Gordon Brothers - motto :"Finding Values where others see none." - will run CompUSA outlets through Christmas - and is promising customers "attractive bargains".

The company is actively discussing to sell stores in some markets, as well as its technical services unit, CompUSA TechPro. It will run TechPro and its Internet sales arm, CompUSA.com until any sales transactions are closed.

Gordon wants to be nice to CompUSA's creditors, including property landlords. Bill Weinstein, a principal at Gordon Brothers, who will act as interim president, at CompUSA, said: "We are focused on assuring that CompUSA's creditors, landlords and other key constituents are treated properly during this process. We are working hard to achieve the maximum recovery possible for the company's constituents while also minimizing unnecessary expenses. We will actively communicate with the various parties and their advisors starting today, and in the days and weeks ahead."

For CompUSA, it has been death by a thousand cuts. In February this year, the retailer announced plans to shut down 126 stores, to leave it with today's 103 outlets. At the time, it also said it had secured a $440m cash injection to shore up its balance sheet. The benefactor was unnamed, but everyone knows the donor was Carlos Slim, the Mexican bazillionaire, who controlled the company until its takeover by Gordon Bros. By some reckonings, Slim leaped past Bill Gates this year to become the world's richest man. So it's pain Slim, but not as you or I know it.®

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