The Ultimate Boondoggle?What Happened to Ultimate Electronics?
Workman tried to put a positive face on Ultimate's increasingly bleak financial picture. In November, announcing sales results for the third quarter of fiscal 2005, ended October 31, 2004, Workman stated that "although traffic and execution issues contributed to a weak start to the quarter, our comparable store sales declines significantly improved in September and October… [The] turnaround initiatives implemented earlier this year are beginning to generate results, and we look forward to continued improvement as we gear up for a successful holiday selling season."
The "improvements" cited by Workman were more "less bad" than good. Sales, at about $157 million, were down 1.6 percent from the same period in fiscal 2004; same-store sales fell about eight percent.
In late November, Ultimate's stock price shot up briefly when it announced contracts with eight home builders, bringing its total of builder partners to over 25. Ultimate provides home theater, networking, structured wiring, security, and central vacuum equipment and installation services to builders in numerous markets. Such partnerships provide additional revenue streams outside of straight retail. However, the resulting 33 percent surge in Ultimate's stock price to $3.06 a share was a far cry from when its shares briefly traded for ten times that or more at the beginning of the decade.