Jerry Del Colliano must be psychic (as opposed to psycho). In his article about how mainstream retailers such as Wal-Mart, Costco and Target are eating specialty AV retailers’ lunch He recommended that specialty retailers either figure out ways to add value and service to their customers or perish. Ultimate Electronics, the operator of 46 home entertainment and electronics stores just starved to death.
An article written by Dawn McCarty in Bloomberg news reveals that Colorado-based Ultimate Electronics owes Sony Sony Electronics Inc. $4.8 million. The largest secured lender, General Electric Capital Corp. are on the hook for $64.8 million. Ouch.
Ultimate Electronics was like the Denny’s of specialty retailers – it’s where I go when everything else is closed – I’ve never intentionally gone to eat at Denny’s, but sometimes I wind up there. In all my years of living in Boulder, CO, which has/had an Ultimate Electronics store, I went into it once. It was the epitome of a terrible retail experience AND the prices were inferior to what I found on the Internet, Why on earth would I ever go there a second time? I guess I wasn’t the only person who felt that way.
On the other hand, my wife liked Ultimate Electronics for appliances for our rental houses. Their prices were good and their delivery service were better than Home Depot, who can’t nail down a delivery time except to say “Tuesday.” But even she agreed that Ultimate’s store environment, which consisted of hip-hop music that only a twenty-something male could love, made shopping challenging, “I wanted to go out into the parking lot so I could actually carry on a conversation with the salesman.” she told me.
So it’s back to Home Depot, Lowes, and Sears for white goods shoppers. Home electronics shoppers had left Ultimate Electronics years ago.