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By | Drew Cullen 6th January 2008 20:41

Systemax saves CompUSA from knacker's yard

Cherry-picks 16 stores

Systemax is buying the CompUSA brand name, its ecommerce operations and up to 16 stores in the great CompUSA close-out sale. The big US computer reseller hails CompUSA as a "strong complementary" business to its own retail TigerDirect brand and is paying up to $30m for its new baby, depending on how many stores it actually buys.

CompUSA went titsup last month, selling itself to Gordon Brothers for an undisclosed sum. Gordon, a Boston-based restructuring specialist, said it would it close CompUSA's 103 retail stores in an orderly wind-down and run the electronics retailer's ecommerce site until a buyer was found.

Systemax wants to buy CompUSA outlets in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico, to run alongside the 11 TigerDirect stores it owns in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Ontario. Will Systemax's TigerDirect brand emerge as top dog? One would think so, but Systemax could be thinking different, judging from TigerDirect CEO Gilbert Fiorentino's comment: "We have a terrific opportunity to continue the great CompUSA brand and establish a new heritage that will extend for generations to come." He also wants to hire experienced CompUSA employees, and anticipates preserving "hundreds of store management and sales positions".

Systemax will maintain the CompUSA ecommerce brand, but this is to be a skin for a "new, improved" version that operates through its own website operations. So the future looks decidedly non-CompUSA for CompUSA's main-office, website and logistics staff. Also, there is no guarantee that any buyer(s) of the 87 CompUSA retail outlets spurned by Systemax will come from the electronics sector and look to CompUSA-ers to run the shops.

Systemax operates in Europe under the Misco brand.

Systemax press release. ®

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