Systemax to Run Multibrand Strategy

By Sara Driscoll  |  Print this article Print


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Following its purchase of the CompUSA brand and e-commerce site, Systemax will continue to run both brands.

Systemax intends to run both its TigerDirect brand and its newly acquired CompUSA brands simultaneously online, but will rebrand its own retail outlets at CompUSA stores, according to executives at the firm.

Systemax recently acquired the brand, e-commerce site and 16 retail outlets of CompUSA, after the retail giant announced in December 2007 that it was closing all of its remaining 103 stores. CompUSA had continued to struggle after closing 126 stores in February 2007.

Click here to read more about CompUSA's troubled year.

Gilbert Fiorentino, CEO of TigerDirect, said the firm will put the CompUSA Web site on top of its own site engine, but will continue to run both brands. "On the retail side we will rebrand our seven TigerDirect stores to CompUSA, but it's more acceptable to run a multibrand strategy online, so we will keep the CompUSA URL and branding," he told The Channel Insider.

However, although Systemax has acquired 16 retail outlets from CompUSA, Fiorentino said it would be unlikely that they would keep all of CompUSA's employees. "We hope to keep the employees at the stores, but we have our own sales and marketing people. We have only acquired 16 stores; we have not acquired the massive overhead with this. We're getting the good assets and not the overhead," he said. He declined to discuss exactly how many employees would be affected.

Beth Vanni, director of consulting practice at channel analyst firm Amazon Consulting, said it was a interesting move by Systemax. "Many retailers have expanded and contracted their number of outlets. CompUSA has a good brand, although it is hard to know if any damage was done by closing its stores," she said.

Vanni said CompUSA struggled because it did not do enough to differentiate itself. "Being in retail is challenging and expensive, and requires massive scale unless there is a key differentiator. It is a tough place to be, especially when you are competing with the likes of Wal-Mart these days."

She said the product mix and services offered by Systemax would be a crucial element in its success.

Sara Driscoll began her journalism career at 16 years old on her local newspaper, The Watford Observer. Working part time, she covered a range of beats. Leaving to complete her Journalism Degree at Bournemouth University, UK, Sara then went on to graduate and work for Emap. She began as a reporter on APR, Emap's construction title, being promoted to senior reporter with a year.Sara then joined VNU Business Publications as Deputy News Editor on CRN, the weekly trade title for channel players. She covered industry/business news from vendors, distributors and resellers, product announcements, partner announcements as well as market and trend analysis, research and in depth articles to predict up and coming trends in the sector. She was promoted within a year to News Editor, a year later to Deputy Editor and the following year became Editor. Sara remained editor of CRN for three years, launching the magazine on new platforms including CRN TV and eBooks, as well as several magazine and web site redesigns. She was called on for expert industry comment from various publications including appearing on live BBC news programs. Sara joined Ziff Davis Enterprise as Editor of eWeek Channel Insider. She runs the title in all formats – online up to the minute news, newsletters, emails alerts and events. She also manages the brand of Channel Insider in all formats - events, shows, awards, panel debates and roundtables.Sara can be reached at:sara.driscoll@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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