Founder and chairman of The Federated Group Wilfred Schwartz died on Jan. 17 in Rancho Mirage, Calif., after a long illness. He was 91.
Schwartz was a pioneer of the consumer electronics “superstore” concept, with the opening of a 20,000-square-foot showroom in the mid-1970s in Southern California that showcased both low-margin, deeply discounted inventory as well as higher-margin, multi-featured, limited-distribution brands. Product selection eventually grew to more than 9.000 SKUs from over 600 vendors, and with the further growth in the number of store locations came exponential growth in their showroom sizes, according to a profile published by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), when it recognized Schwartz by installing him as a 2015 CTA Hall of Fame honoree.
By the mid-’80s, the company went public and the chain expanded to 60 locations throughout the Southwest, Texas and Kansas. In 1987, the 67-store chain was acquired by the Atari Corp.
Schwartz is survived by his wife, Lita, three daughters, five grandchildren, a brother and a sister.