Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Circuit City and HHGregg

November 20, 2008
How can it be that Circuit City is bankrupt and HHGregg is still going strong? Both companies sell electronics to consumers, though Gregg also deals in appliances.

Part of the reason may be found in how they treat their sales staffs.

Circuit City famously fired more than 3,000 of its top salespeople in March 2007 in order to cut costs. Now, less than two years after the â??wage management initiative,â?? Gregg is opening its 109th store and honoring Circuit City gift cards as the rival closes locations.

Gregg has long bragged of its service. Walk into a Gregg location and its sales people are likely to know their products and patiently walk customers through a buying decision. To boot, the quality of Greggâ??s product line is similar to competitors and the company often beats or matches their prices.

Jeff Pearson, who heads Gregg marketing, wonâ??t disclose tenures or compensation of its sales staff. But he says even veterans get 200 hours a year in morning walk-throughs and vendor training.

What are your thoughts about Gregg? Do you see other differences between the local company and Circuit City, Best Buy and other competitors?
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