CompUSA returns, but not as you remember it

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

CompUSA, the former computer giant that once operated hundreds of retail stores across the country, is making a comeback. Don’t let the nostalgia overtake you just yet, however, as you won’t be able to pop down to your local shopping center and leave with the latest consumer electronics.

DealCentral LLC, a private company that operates a deal-hunting and couponing website, recently purchased the iconic brand. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

CompUSA got its start in 1986 when Soft Warehouse opened in Addison, Texas. In 1991, the company changed its name to CompUSA and started trading on the New York Stock Exchange. At one point, it operated more than 225 stores across the US and Puerto Rico.

As online commerce picked up and sales of computers slowed due to the changing technological landscape, CompUSA was forced to close more than half of its stores. In 2008, Systemax (which at the time owned TigerDirect) bought CompUSA as part of a deal valued at $30 million.

Yishai Grossman, founder of DealCentral, said acquiring the asset simply made sense for them on so many levels.

“Out of the gate we can offer the best deals, sales and coupons from all around the web in one place from our partner stores like Walmart, Amazon and Best Buy. Then, come the holiday shopping season, we will host all of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads, break down the massive sales and keep everyone up to date about the hottest deals.”

The “revised” CompUSA went live on October 15 although sadly, there’s not much to differentiate it from the pack aside from its name. If you’ve seen one deals aggregator site, you’ve seen them all.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Anything has to be better than the origional ... they were so flaky, the one in Cincinnati would have the salespeople "quote" you the computer price and when one of the TV stations caught them quoting different figures based upon men vs. women, white vs. black, they suddenly closed their doors, never to return!
 

psycros

TS Evangelist
Local stores were still fairly competitive in the late 80's and early 90's when mail order retailers sold via catalogs. As soon as the catalogs were replaced by websites, however, prices at physical stores became stagnant, with hardware that was generations out of date still being priced like it was new. I never understood why but ultimately it destroyed an entire brick-and-mortar segment. The old names are nearly extinct although Best Buy is still hanging on but they've closed a lot of stores. I think maybe their just competitive enough to draw in the consumers who find dealing with online retail either tedious, intimidating or annoying.
 
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fktech

TS Maniac
Local stores were still fairly competitive in the late 80's and early 90's when mail order retailers sold via catalogs. As soon as the catalogs were replaced by websites, however, prices at physical stores became stagnant, with hardware that was generations out of date still being priced like it was new. I never understood why but ultimately it destroyed an entire brick-and-mortar segment. The old names are nearly extinct although Best Buy is still hanging on but they've closed a lot of stores. I think maybe their just competitive enough to draw in the consumers who find dealing with online retail either tedious, intimidating or annoying.
Local stores were still fairly competitive in the late 80's and early 90's when mail order retailers sold via catalogs. As soon as the catalogs were replaced by websites, however, prices at physical stores became stagnant, with hardware that was generations out of date still being priced like it was new. I never understood why but ultimately it destroyed an entire brick-and-mortar segment. The old names are nearly extinct although Best Buy is still hanging on but they've closed a lot of stores. I think maybe their just competitive enough to draw in the consumers who find dealing with online retail either tedious, intimidating or annoying.
Have you been in Best Buy lately? They have cleaned up their act mostly....
 
If you're looking for tablets, laptops, & prebuilt desktop PCs, Best Buy has a good selection (& you can even use their website to not only determine which item is stock, but you can even walk in with the information & tell the associate "I want this item with this SKU #")...but their stock of hardware for upgrading existing systems, let alone getting all of the components for a DIY desktop, are sorely lacking.

Luckily I still have a Micro Center nearby...
 

tipstir

TS Ambassador
Frey Electronics needs to come out to the East coast. Right now it's either online or bust. As for CompUSA they fell because prices were too high, places like Walmart and Target kick them to the curb quickly enough. Tiger Direct management.
 

texasrattler

TS Evangelist
Local stores were still fairly competitive in the late 80's and early 90's when mail order retailers sold via catalogs. As soon as the catalogs were replaced by websites, however, prices at physical stores became stagnant, with hardware that was generations out of date still being priced like it was new. I never understood why but ultimately it destroyed an entire brick-and-mortar segment. The old names are nearly extinct although Best Buy is still hanging on but they've closed a lot of stores. I think maybe their just competitive enough to draw in the consumers who find dealing with online retail either tedious, intimidating or annoying.
Stop spreading bs. Best Buy has not closed a lot of stores. They closed some that just didn't make money anymore and that was awhile ago. They aren't Sears which is a dead and dying company.
Best Buy has over 800 stores.
 

texasrattler

TS Evangelist
Frey Electronics needs to come out to the East coast. Right now it's either online or bust. As for CompUSA they fell because prices were too high, places like Walmart and Target kick them to the curb quickly enough. Tiger Direct management.
I think Frys is a Texas based only store. MicroCenter is nationwide.
 

texasrattler

TS Evangelist
If you're looking for tablets, laptops, & prebuilt desktop PCs, Best Buy has a good selection (& you can even use their website to not only determine which item is stock, but you can even walk in with the information & tell the associate "I want this item with this SKU #")...but their stock of hardware for upgrading existing systems, let alone getting all of the components for a DIY desktop, are sorely lacking.

Luckily I still have a Micro Center nearby...
Best Buy stopped with all the DYI computer stuff years ago. Spring of this year stores started getting back some items like motherboards, cpus, coolers/heatsinks. They still lack memory as that has got a lot smaller than it use to be but they still have some. They have a good selection of video cards, maybe some of the biggest from a store. They also sell HDDs and SSDs, even m.2s.
 
But their selection is still going to be limited. Take PSUs, for example. I have 4 Best Buys within 15 miles of my house. Between them, they have a total of 40 "different" PSUs available between the stores...but when you look at the actual models carried, you find that there are only 14 distinct models between them...& all of which are the ATX form factor.

In contrast, the single Micro Center (also within that 15-mile radius) has 102 distinct PSU models (not including their 14 refurbished units). Those units not only include PSUs rated above 1300W & units rated below 400W, but include form factor SFX, mini-ITX, & mTFX units. Again, the selection at Best Buy is pretty selective, & IMHO seems geared more for "basic" upgrades (or more accurately, quick replacement of broken components); actually planning a full-build DIY system is going to see limitations if you rely on Best Buy.
 

texasrattler

TS Evangelist
But their selection is still going to be limited. Take PSUs, for example. I have 4 Best Buys within 15 miles of my house. Between them, they have a total of 40 "different" PSUs available between the stores...but when you look at the actual models carried, you find that there are only 14 distinct models between them...& all of which are the ATX form factor.

In contrast, the single Micro Center (also within that 15-mile radius) has 102 distinct PSU models (not including their 14 refurbished units). Those units not only include PSUs rated above 1300W & units rated below 400W, but include form factor SFX, mini-ITX, & mTFX units. Again, the selection at Best Buy is pretty selective, & IMHO seems geared more for "basic" upgrades (or more accurately, quick replacement of broken components); actually planning a full-build DIY system is going to see limitations if you rely on Best Buy.
No one said that it wasnt limited. Its been limited for years since they got rid of their DIY. They got some stuff back. Their PSU assortment is much better in some areas or maybe even before. You see silver n gold now instead of the garbage bronze all the time. But id tell anyone just use Newegg if you want to or are trying to build one. Best Buy is just meant for a quick stop, you arent gonna find everything or the exact item you are wanting when trying to build a pc.