Calif. computer chain joins growing trend, opens PC superstore


SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A small chain has jumped on the bandwagon of a fast-growing niche in personal-computer retailing, recently opening what it said is the Sacramento area's first PC superstore.

D&G; Connecting Point Center expanded a 1,600-square-foot store to 8,500 square feet to become the largest retail computer store in greater Sacramento, a company executive said.

"To be successful in the personal computer market, you have to be flexible enough to change with the market," said Andy Beal, D&G;'s director of sales.

In addition to its superstore, D&G; owns three other stores in the area.

The market is shifting to warehouse-type superstores, bargain-based gallerias that stress high-volume sales on a wide variety of off-the-shelf computer hardware and software. One of the hottest trends in retailing, computer superstores are gaining ground because of increasingly technology-literate consumers who no longer need specialized sales help.

Small businesses are big clients for superstores.

"Customers are becoming more and more knowledgeable about computers," Mr. Beal said. "They want to able to serve themselves and get out the door quickly."

Despite being significantly larger than any competitor in town, D&G;'s new store probably is best described as more "mighty house" than superstore, analysts said.

Seymour Merrin, a computer market research consultant, said that superstores in metropolitan areas generally are 20,000

square feet and have at least 5,000 products on display. In a secondary market, a store has to encompass about 12,000 square feet and carry 3,000 products to qualify as a superstore, he said.

Though lacking in square footage, D&G; does meet Mr. Merrin's product-volume criteria, carrying 4,500 pieces of merchandise on its shelves. The store carries personal computers by Apple, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Hyundai and NEC and IBM clones.

D&G; also sells more than 400 software titles and aims to be a leading software vendor.

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