H.H. Gregg Brick and Mortar Back From the Dead
H.H. Gregg has made its return to physical retail. After 64 years in business, the electronics retailer filed for bankruptcy in 2017. Its intellectual property was purchased by New Jersey-based holding company Valor Group, LLC., who outbid behemoths Sears and BestBuy to secure rights to HHGregg’s e-commerce site as well as its customer files and trademarks.
Valor re-launched the H.H. Gregg website, and indicated it would be reopening physical locations. Making good on that promise, that first location opened earlier this month at the Cedar Grove Shopping Center in Somerset.
“We definitely see the value in a brick and mortar location,” said Valor Group director of retail operations Eli Sapharti. “And we are also intimately aware that physical locations and overly rapid expansion is death to any company aiming for long years of success.”
Leadership agrees that unreasonably explosive growth is what ultimately killed H.H. Gregg. In 2008, the chain counted 91 stores in nine states. As the recession took hold and consumers stopped spending and other big box stores such as Circuit City and Mervyn’s closed, H.H. Gregg’s strategy was to take advantage of the rock-bottom lease opportunities. By 2015 it peaked at a total of 228 stores in 20 states – some of them in the Circuit City spaces left vacant by their own bankruptcy.
The new space, at just under 2,000 square feet, is smaller than what consumers were used to with H.H. Gregg. “We’re very aware of retail trends and the emerging strategy of a smaller physical location,” explained Sapharti. “Combining market trends with our own analysis of 25 million H.H. Gregg customer records, we recognized this is the most effective way to keep providing consumers with the same service and trusted name that H.H. Gregg built since its founding in 1955.”