New Lines, Same Foundation
When Mark Wattles bought the floundering Ultimate Electronics in 2005, one of his top priorities was to put the chain's floor space to better use. The numbers told him somethng ws wrong. Revenues from thearger stores, which averaged about 33,000 square feet, were no greater than those from its smaller stores. After dropping and de-emphasizing certain categories, such as computers and software, the Ultimate team was left with how to utilize the space.
“It was pretty obvious the stores had excess square footage,” said Wattles, Ultimate’s chairman and CEO. “Either we could cut down the space or add to it.”
Wattles and his core team—made up primarily of Bruce Giesbrecht, president and COO; David Smith, senior vice president of marketing and product; and Jim Pearse, senior vice president of merchandising—decided to add to the space, mainly by filling it up with appliances. The question now is whether the move will pay off.