High end stereo chain to open in Balto., D.C.

July 08, 1994|By Jay Hancock | Jay Hancock,Sun Staff Writer

Sound Advice Inc., purveyor of $4,000 stereo systems and $10,000 home theater setups, said yesterday that it intends to open as many as 10 stores in the Baltimore-Washington area in the next two years.

The Dania, Fla.-based chain, which has 20 stores, all in its home state, will present competition for Gramophone, Soundscape and other upscale electronics boutiques.

It is the second stereo seller to announce its entry into the region in recent weeks. Best Buy Co. Inc. said last month that it intends to open six of its warehouse-style consumer electronics stores in the Baltimore area, going head to head with Circuit City Stores Inc.

Sound Advice probably will stay above the Circuit City-Best Buy fray, said Kenneth M. Gassman Jr., a retail analyst with Davenport & Co. in Richmond, Va. Carrying expensive brands such as Polk, Bang & Olufsen, Mitsubishi, Yamaha and Alpine, Sound Advice stocks merchandise that duplicates just 15 percent of what Circuit City carries, he said.

Circuit City and Best Buy are the places to go for a $100 tape deck, he said. If you want a $300 tape deck, he said, Sound Advice is the place.

"Some of their best stores in Florida are located within a block or two of Circuit City stores," he said.

Even though Sound Advice has never opened outside of Florida, Mr. Gassman believes its concept is "readily transferable" and that "there's room for another competitor" in Baltimore-Washington.

Founded 20 years ago by Peter Beshouri, the South Florida company is known for placing BMW cars in its showrooms and allowing customers to sit inside and listen to the stereo system.

The company is careful to place its stores in affluent areas, said Mr. Beshouri, its chairman and chief executive. It plans to open four stores by next spring, four more before the end of 1995 and two more in 1996. But it isn't ready to announce any locations yet, he said. The stores here will have between 15,000 and 20,000 square feet of space, he said.

Sound Advice issued stock to the public in 1986, and its shares closed at $5.75 yesterday, down 12.5 cents. It expects to announce revenue of approximately $180 million for its fiscal year that ended June 30, Mr. Beshouri said.

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