When Hhgregg started opening stores like crazy a couple of years ago around the time of the demise of Circuit City, we thought the whole thing seemed misguided. Why would there be room for another electronics chain shooting for a national reach when one just collapsed?
Well, for now the company is proving us wrong.
Hhgregg released its preliminary third-quarter results, and it looks like the chain had a pretty good holiday season, with same-store sales rising 4%, it’s second straight quarter with positive comps, with strong performances in appliances and home office. That store expansion isn’t slowing, either, as the company plans to open 35 new stores over its current fiscal year.
Meanwhile, the story wasn’t so hot at Best Buy. The electronics chain is fighting criticism, and same-store sales only rose 0.9% in December.
So, if this trend continues, why is it taking place? According to this Forbes column, which calls Best Buy a showroom for Amazon.com, it could be a lack of customer service at the larger chain that is hurting it in retail stores. (It might want to work on its Web site too, because this link to its Investor Relations page doesn’t work.)
Of course Best Buy’s army of 1,100 stores completely dwarfs Hhgregg’s total of just over 200. But could Best Buy be focusing so much on the Amazon’s of the world that a smaller guy just might benefit from a lack of focus on customers in stores?